FILE: UNDATED: Louisiana state Sen. Neil Riser, a Republican running for a U.S. House seat in 2013.NeilRiser.com
Louisiana voters choosing the state's newest member of Congress faced a crowded list of candidates on Saturday's ballot, with 14 contenders seeking the 5th District seat.
The special election wasn't expected to decide who will take the U.S. House seat once filled by Rodney Alexander, but rather to whittle down the field of candidates to two men who will face off in a November runoff.
With a huge geographical district and only two months of campaign time, candidates struggled simply to distinguish themselves and drum up name recognition.
The sprawling district covers all or part of 24 parishes, from northeast and central Louisiana into the southeast.
Polls close at 8 p.m. The top two highest vote-getters advance to a Nov. 16 runoff if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote.
State Sen. Neil Riser, a Republican from Columbia, was the front-runner in the race and raised the most cash for his campaign.
Because Riser got his campaign running so quickly, he's been accused of behind-the-scenes collusion with Alexander and Gov. Bobby Jindal to rig the election schedule in his favor. All three deny the claim.
Five other elected officials are considered the main contenders for the second spot in a runoff: Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, a Republican who served in Congress 20 years ago; state Rep. Marcus Hunter, a Democrat; state Rep.