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It's Fields vs. Foster for La. Gov.

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In a race where education issues are expected to take a back seat, U.S. Rep. Cleo Fields will face state Sen. Mike Foster on Nov. 18 in Louisiana's gubernatorial election.

The race pits Mr. Fields, a 32-year-old liberal Democrat who is black, against Mr. Foster, a 65-year-old white multimillionaire who recently left the Democratic Party to run as a Republican. Democratic Gov. Edwin W. Edwards is retiring.

In the state's nonpartisan Oct. 21 primary, Mr. Foster led the 16-candidate field, garnering 26 percent of the 1.4 million votes cast. Mr. Fields captured 19 percent. Former Gov. Buddy Roemer, a Republican, logged only a fourth-place finish. As governor, Mr. Roemer often clashed with the state teachers' union over issues such as teacher evaluation.

While both candidates have pledged to strengthen the state's schools and push for boosting teachers' salaries--which rank among the lowest in the country--a spokesman for Mr. Foster's campaign said that beyond advocating for more local control, education will likely not be a front-burner issue in the race.

Mr. Fields has pledged to raise taxes on casino winnings to help pay for education, to ensure that all students use up-to-date textbooks, and to push for strict discipline.

--Lynn Schnaiberg

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