How desperate are Louisiana Democrats to save the Senate seat of incumbent Mary Landrieu in Saturday’s runoff? Desperate enough to publicly call on crowds to commit voter fraud.
Don Cravins Sr., a former state senator who is now mayor of Opelousas, was caught on videotape last month just before the first round of voting in the Senate race: “If you early-voted, go vote again tomorrow. One more time’s not going to hurt.” Just in case anyone doubted that Cravins was serious, he told the crowd they had an insurance policy — the local prosecutor would look the other way: “Tomorrow we’re gonna elect Earl Taylor as the D.A. so he won’t prosecute you if you vote twice.” The crowd on the tape laughs uproariously at Cravins’s remarks and then bursts into wild cheering.
But the Cravins family isn’t stopping at urging voter fraud to get out the vote. Don Cravins Jr., the mayor’s son and current chief-of-staff to Senator Landrieu, can be seen on a separate videotape telling a crowd: “I’m asking you tomorrow to go out and vote for Senator Landrieu. She will go on to support Barack Obama 97 percent of the time!”
As David Weigel of Bloomberg notes, the reference is to Republican attack ads that slam Landrieu for marching in lockstep with Obama. She responded by telling Louisiana voters that she was independent and had often bucked the Obama White House. Now her chief of staff is claiming that she and Obama are joined at the hip. As Weigel sardonically notes: “Whatever works.” Except in this case, neither voter fraud nor political manipulation are likely to save Mary Landrieu. She trails in the latest polls by double digits.