Tags: Louisiana

Louisiana’s Early Vote Looks Particularly Ominous for Mary Landrieu


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Louisiana’s Early Vote Looks Particularly Ominous for Mary Landrieu

This coming Saturday, Louisianans close the book on the 2014 Senate races with their run-off election between incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.

This morning Freedom Partners Action Fund launches a new ad, a portion of the original $2.1 million in ad time the group reserved early. The ad features two Louisiana residents, John Humphreys and Diana Lennon:

John Humphreys: You know, there’s lots of reasons Senator Mary Landrieu hasn’t earned six more years.

Diana Lennon: She’s been in Washington so long she calls it home.

Humphreys: Washington’s war on oil and gas, Obamacare and wasteful spending…

Lennon: She’s part of the problem.

Humphreys: This may be the most important vote that you ever make for Louisiana and the country.

Lennon: A vote for Mary Landrieu is a vote for President Obama and has failed liberal policies.

Humphreys: Let’s put Louisiana first.

Lennon: Vote Bill Cassidy.

Announcer: Freedom Partners Action Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Elsewhere, Conservative War Chest’s commercial, hitting President Obama for treating the results of the midterm elections as if they don’t count, posted Friday, has more than 130,000 views on YouTube.

The early vote is looking pretty brutal for Landrieu:

The number of people who cast their ballots early in Louisiana dropped off from the Nov. 4 primary election to the Dec. 6 runoff election in every statewide category except one: registered Republican voters. 

About 85,900 registered Republicans took advantage of early voting for the Dec. 6 runoff, which was held during the week leading up Thanksgiving, as well as Saturday. That’s almost 3,000 more than the number of people who voted early for the Nov. 4 election, and it amounts to a 4 percent bump in early voting overall from a month ago. 

The jump in early Republican voters is noteworthy, given that early voting overall dropped by 10 percent from the November primary to the December runoff. The number of registered Democrats who voted early fell even further — about an 18 percent decrease — from the primary to the runoff, according to information provided by the Secretary of State’s office.  

Still, the biggest decline in early voters statewide happened among African Americans, who have typically backed Landrieu. The number of black voters casting early ballots fell by 24 percent from the Nov. 4 election period to the Dec. 6 election period.

Democrats have said there was a surge in black voters participating in early voting on the final day it was available, Saturday (Nov. 29). The Landrieu campaign is confident that African Americans will head to the polls this coming Saturday, the official election day and last time voting is available, according to officials.  

Keep in mind, historically, turnout for Louisiana’s runoff elections hasn’t been much smaller than their November elections.

Opinion polling looks similarly brutal for Landrieu, showing her trailing by double-digits. There’s no reason for Louisiana Republicans to take their foot off the gas, but chances are a week from now, the GOP is warmly welcoming the 54th member of their caucus.

Tags: Mary Landrieu , Bill Cassidy , Louisiana

The Silver Lining of Any Senate Race Runoffs


Assuming either or both Senate races go to a runoff, how do you think voters in Louisiana and/or Georgia will respond to President Obama issuing an executive-order quasi-amnesty for illegal immigrants? Do you think Mary Landrieu and Michelle Nunn are hoping Obama will announce it quickly? Do you think Bill Cassidy and David Perdue would appreciate the extra passion and fury added to the Republican grassroots?

Note that at least so far, the form of executive-order-amnesty discussed has been to issue “safe harbor from deportation and work permits” for one million to four million illegal immigrants, not full citizenship so it would not change the makeup of the electorate in Louisiana and Georgia for the runoffs. The number of illegal immigrants voting in those states would be . . . well, no more than usual.

“Not now, Mr. President!”

Tags: Illegal Immigration , Runoffs , Georgia , Louisiana

Don’t Count on Lower Turnout In a Louisiana Runoff


Louisiana’s Senate race is likely to go to a runoff after Tuesday night.

Incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu has led a lot of the pre-runoff polling, but by increasingly small margins, and with a percentage of the vote that’s particularly ominous. Anywhere else, if you’ve been in office and only 36 percent of the likely voters say they want to vote for you, that means you’re toast. Yet it’s quite possible that on Election Night, a finish in the high 30s would make Landrieu the “frontrunner,” and off into a runoff with Representative Bill Cassidy, who is polling in the mid-30s.

The bad news for Landrieu is that she trails Cassidy in all head-to-head polls since July. If there is a runoff, it will be held December 6.

One would expect that the turnout would be lower in the runoff, but past Louisiana elections show a quite mild drop-off. Back in 1996, Louisiana held its “jungle primary” election September 21, with the runoff in November. Landrieu had only 21 percent of the vote in the first round, but won with 50.17 percent in the runoff. Turnout jumped from 1.2 million to 1.7 million that year, as one would expect, as most people think of Election Day as the first Tuesday in November.

In 2002, Landrieu won 46 percent in the first round against multiple Republican opponents, and then won 51.7 percent in the runoff against Suzanne Terrell. Turnout dropped by only about 10,000 votes, from 1.24 million to 1.23 million.

Then in 2008 — helped along by the Obama wave — Landrieu won outright in the first round, 52.1 percent to John N. Kennedy’s 45.7 percent. That year she never trailed in the head-to-head polling.

Still, Louisiana has drifted in a more Republican direction in recent cycles. Romney won by 57 percent to 40 percent in 2012; Bobby Jindal won the governor’s race with 65 percent in 2011, Senator David Vitter won reelection with 56 percent in 2010, McCain carried the state with 58 percent in 2008, and Jindal won the governor’s race with 53 percent in 2007.

Georgia is the other state requiring a winning candidate to get 50 percent. Neither Republican David Perdue nor Democrat Michelle Nunn has hit 50 percent in recent polls. In 2008, Georgia’s Senate race went to a runoff, and turnout dropped from 3.7 million on November 4 to 2.1 million December 2; Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss won.

Tags: Mary Landrieu , Louisiana , Bill Cassidy

‘Bibles and guns brought us here, and Bibles and guns will keep us here.’


Zach Dasher, that is one heck of an ad:

“Hey, Louisiana. Bibles and guns brought us here, and Bibles and guns will keep us here. Zach Dasher believes in ‘em both.”

Dasher has a bit of an “in” with his endorser; his maternal uncles are Phil and Si Robertson of the Duck Dynasty A&E television series. Dasher is running in the fifth congressional district.

Tags: Zach Dasher , Louisiana

Wife of Kissing Congressman Helps Bail Out Leaking Campaign


Congressman Vance McAllister, the Republican from Louisiana’s Fifth District who was caught soul-kissing a staffer on a leaked surveillance video in April, is getting support from his wife in a new video. But polling in the district suggests that marital support may not be enough for a campaign that was severely damaged by the scandal.

McAllister praises his spouse as a “Christian wife” in the new spot, for which the campaign has made a $75,000 media purchase. “I’m blessed to have a husband that owns up to his mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the good people of Louisiana,” Kelly McAllister tells viewers in a video punctuated by meaningful gazes. Although the McAllisters appear compatible in the clip, the congressman — who announced that he would not seek reelection after the scandal, only to change his mind a few weeks later — is no longer the frontrunner in the race, according to the most recent poll of Fifth District voters by the Glascock Group.

McAllister won 60 percent of the vote in a 2013 special election, but his 2014 campaign is floundering. He’s facing six Republican challengers — including a member of the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame — a Libertarian, a Green and Democratic mayor of Monroe Jamie Mayo. McAllister took 20 percent in Glascock’s poll early last week, behind Alto-based family physician Ralph Abraham with 22 percent. Although Zach Dasher — the nephew of Phil Robertson — took only 7 percent, McAllister is still hurting from his public rupture with the Robertsons, who had previously endorsed McAllister but turned sharply against him in the wake of the kissing scandal.

Despite these troubles, Glascock Group founder and managing partner Darrell Glascock tells National Review Online that the most important recent damage to McAllister was the entrance into the race of Clyde Holloway of Forest Hill. Although Holloway, Louisiana’s public service commissioner, is polling only 9 percent, most of that seems to have been peeled off from McAllister. 

“Vance had been running in at least the 30s every poll I’ve done,” Glascock tells NRO. “He wasn’t doing real well, but he had enough hard support to be in the runoff. After Clyde got in he dropped to 20. When we looked at Clyde’s voters, at their first and second choices, it looked like 90 percent of it was coming from Vance. So with Vance at 20, that meant Dr. Abraham at 22 took over the lead. Dr. Abraham’s support, rather than coming just from the Monroe region in the north or from the Alexandria region in the south, seems to be pretty widespread throughout the district. Prior to Clyde’s coming into the race it looked like anybody who got over 20 might get in a runoff with McAllister. But now McAllister may be in that pocket himself.”

McAllister’s campaign also appears to be less well funded than some of his competitors’ efforts, with Abraham and Dasher both enjoying substantial self-funding capacity. The slide in McAllisters’s finances is a “direct result of his little escapade,” Glascock says. “At that point the Republican Party in Washington dropped him and said they weren’t going to raise any money for him. The Republican Party in Louisiana said they weren’t going to raise any money for him. And the Duck boys said they weren’t going to raise any money for him.”

Baton Rouge consultant Roy Fletcher tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune the new ad could be effective if it persuades voters that McAllister’s wife has forgiven him, but he adds, “Getting forgiveness and getting re-elected are two different things.”

Tags: Louisiana , Scandals , House of Representatives

Senator Mary Landrieu’s Worst Poll of 2014 . . . So Far.


Senator Mary Landrieu hasn’t polled particularly well all year, but this latest one from Southern Media and Opinion Research is disastrous for her:

Sen. Mary Landrieu’s approval ratings have taken a major hit, but she still enjoys a 36-35 percent lead over Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, according to a poll Thursday by Southern Media & Opinion Research.

The poll says that 58 percent of the 600 likely voters surveyed rated the three-term Democrat’s performance as either poor or “not so good,” while 39 percent rated her performance excellent or good. The polling firm said negatives for Landrieu, who has been attacked recently in a series of ads by Americans for Prosperity and two other conservative advocacy groups, increased from 28 percent to 58 percent in a little over 18 months.

That 36 percent to 35 percent lead doesn’t mean much. Louisiana has a “jungle primary,” where all candidates are listed on the ballot in November and if no candidate gets 50 percent plus one — a good possibility — there is a runoff between the two top finishers on December 6. You could interpret this poll as Landrieu getting 36 percent and 46 percent for Republican candidates.

It’s a tough issue environment for Landrieu:

The poll found that 62.5 percent were opposed to the Affordable Care Act, a 2010 law that Landrieu voted for and continues to support, though she’s called for changes to make it work better. Cassidy, Maness and Hollis continue to urge that the law be repealed.

The poll, conducted April 28–30, has a margin of error of +/– 4 percentage points.

Tags: Mary Landrieu , Bill Cassidy , Paul Hollis , Rob Maness , Louisiana

Guess Which Issue Is Missing from Senator Landrieu’s Campaign Site?


For one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, Senator Mary Landrieu’s campaign site is rather . . . sparse right now.

The opening splash page is an invitation to contribute money — standard on campaign web pages these days — and then . . . three buttons: a link to the Facebook page, a link to the Twitter feed, and the “News & Press Releases” page.

In the 29 items listed on the “News & Press Releases” page, the words “Obamacare,” “Affordable Care Act,” “health care,” and “health” never appear.

“Insurance” gets mentioned six times . . . but only in the context of flood insurance.

She does announce that the “Telecommunications Development Fund (TDF) Foundation has awarded $30,000 to the City of Vidalia to deploy a wireless network throughout Vidalia’s 77-acre Municipal Park.” She also mentions her support for a bill to boost foreign adoptions, her push to ensure that Poverty Point, Louisiana, becomes a World Heritage Site, and her efforts to protect the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

But no mention of Obamacare.

Tags: Mary Landrieu , Louisiana , Obamacare

Guess Who’s Thinking of a Comeback in Louisiana?


Ace notes, accurately, that this is one of the gloomiest times of the year by most of the usual standards — miserable weather, the big holidays have passed, the credit-card bill for that Christmas shopping is due, short days, the NFL season is over for most of our teams, and the fun of spring training and March Madness is still a few months away.

So today’s Morning Jolt is a special ALL-CHEERY edition, featuring news like this . . . 

Aiming to Move From the Big House to the U.S. House

Great news, Louisiana Democrats! Guess who’s not denying rumors of a political comeback?

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards said Thursday he hasn’t decided whether he will run for Congress next year, adding he didn’t want to comment on a report by the conservative website The Hayride that his camp is eying Louisiana’s 6th District.

“I don’t have any comment at this time,” Edwards, 86, told | The Times-Picayune on Thursday. The two-time congressman, who went on to serve an unprecedented four terms as Louisiana’s governor, said he has received “a lot of encouragement” from supporters who want him to run for some kind of office.

If that name seems only vaguely familiar, perhaps this will refresh your memory:

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards has been released from federal prison and moved to a halfway house, after serving eight years for a corruption conviction. Edwards went to jail in October 2002 on a 10-year sentence for a bribery and extortion scheme to rig Louisiana’s riverboat casino licensing process during his final term in office.

Edwin Edwards: Because Washington doesn’t need any more amateur crooks.

Tags: Edwin Edwards , Louisiana

Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Runs Away From Reporters


Louisiana state senator Karen Carter Peterson, the chair of the state Democratic party, runs away from local television reporters who ask about her declaration that opponents of Obamacare are driven by racism.

Run, State Senator, Run!

The reporter adds that they submitted a written request for comment, left at her desk on the Senate floor . . . that she promptly threw in the trash.

Every lawmaker says something they regret; what’s kind of stunning is that her race-baiting occurred on the floor of the Louisiana State Senate, and now she wants to pretend it didn’t happen.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , Louisiana , Karen Carter Peterson

Bobby Jindal’s Staff Formalizing Out-of-State Travel Policy?


Hmmm. This is probably nothing significant, but…

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office has changed its policy and started notifying Louisiana’s second-highest ranking official when the governor heads out of state.

Under the Louisiana Constitution, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is technically the governor when Jindal leaves Louisiana. But until recently, Dardenne never knew when Jindal was gone.

… So, does Governor Jindal or his staff have reason to believe he’ll be leaving the state more regularly in the not-too-distant future?

UPDATE: Governor Jindal has a lengthy post in the Corner today.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , Louisiana , Mitt Romney

Bobby Jindal’s Penniless Competition


For a good portion of next week, I’ll be in Louisiana, working on an article for the magazine on Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal and the accomplishments of his first term. Besides his policy successes, Jindal has already surprised the state by making the Louisiana Democrat Party a virtual nonentity in this year’s gubernatorial race:

Campaign reports filed last week with the state Board of Ethics showed just how big a financing disparity exists between Gov. Bobby Jindal and his nine challengers in the Oct. 22 primary.*

Jindal has more than $7.7 million left in the bank for his campaign,

While Jindal had more than $7.7 million left in the bank, his best-financed opponent, Democrat Tara Hollis, had just $4,612 on hand — or .06 percent of Jindal’s total.

* Louisiana has the unusual primary system where ever candidate runs in the same primary and the general election consists of the top two finishers. In most races, that turns out to be the Republican and the Democrat but you can have “general election” contests consisting of two members of the same party. If a candidate wins more than 50 percent in the “primary” election, no general election is held.

Thus, unless the four little-known Democrats, lone Libertarian, and four other candidates with no party affiliation keep Jindal below 50 percent on October 22, he will be officially reelected in late October.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , Louisiana

Early Outlook Positive for Louisiana GOP


Down in Louisiana, it is an election year, and the firm JMC Enterprises is out with a new survey, looking at the outlook for that state’s legislative elections. The results can be found here; they conclude:

If you were to allocate all of the African-American undecideds to the Democratic column and split the white and “other” undecideds equally between Democrats and Republicans, you’d be looking at a 52-48% preference for GOP legislative candidates. What does this 52% GOP preference mean in terms of the likely size of the GOP legislative delegation after the fall elections?

If we look only at the raw numbers (Note: we’re not considering the quality of the candidates or “game changing” events that would impact the results), even though John Kennedy received 46% of the vote in his 2008 race against Mary Landrieu, he received absolute majorities in 70 out of 144 legislative districts (51 in the House and 19 in the Senate). When David Vitter was re-elected with 57% of the statewide vote last year, he carried 99 legislative districts (72 in the House and 27 in the Senate).

Given these numbers, a 52% GOP statewide vote roughly equates to the GOP winning 63 House seats (a pickup of 8 seats) and 23 Senate seats (a pickup of 1 seat).

JMC lays out a bit about their sampling:

For this poll, we chose a sample of 19,324 likely Louisiana households for an automated poll, and 489 responded to one or more of three poll questions. We chose a “likely voter” model because we believe this will best approximate the 2011 electorate.The survey was conducted June 28-July 2. The margin of error, with a 95% confidence interval, was 4.38%. The racial breakdown of the electorate was 71-28% white. This demographic breakdown closely approximates the 2010 electorate (27% African-American), and we believe it is the most reasonable model to use for this year’s electorate.

Of course, all of the standard caveats apply – it’s early, party loyalty is sometimes weaker in state legislative elections, quality of candidates matters, etc.

In other Louisiana news, the Democrats have now found a candidate to run against Gov. Bobby Jindal: Tara Hollis, a public school teacher from Haynesville, Louisiana.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , Louisiana , Tara Hollis

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