Monday, November 23, 2015

That Louisiana Governor's Race

This past Saturday, Democrats had a substantive win in the Louisiana governor's race with their candidate, Jack Bel Edwards defeating Republican U. S. Senator David Vitter by a healthy 10 point margin.
Needless to say this made the Dems happy and the thought that maybe they are turning the corner in the South and Republicans should be weary of these results.
I agree with the thought that yes, it should be of concern for Republicans. It was not helpful to run a candidate like Sen. Vitter, a man with a lot of baggage. Mostly it is his role in a sex scandal in 2007. While he was able to win reelection, another bit of baggage was his frosty relationship with the current governor and former GOP presidential candidate, Bobby Jindal. That is noted here in this excellent analysis by Taylor Millard. In fact, their dissonance goes back to the 2007 prostitute scandal and then gubernatorial candidate Jindal not offering support and or forgiveness to Sen. Vitter. In fact, Mr. Millard gives us this from a local political blog:

The main source for voter hatred of Vitter, the 15-year-old extramarital behavior which came to light in 2007, didn't defeat him then. But the constant drumbeat of "hookers, hookers, hookers" an "hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite" in this election created and insurmountable gender gap and wiped out his chances of getting the job he always wanted.

In other words, his behavior, still even in a horribly corrupt state as is Louisiana, came to bite him in the butt when it counted.
But here's an odd thing.
It did not go down ticket to the race for Lt. governor as the Republican candidate, Billy Nungesser, defeated the Democrat candidate, Melvin Holder, by about the same margins as Mr. Bel Edwards defeated Sen. Vitter.
 Also, the Democrat attorney general lost to the Republican challenger. And the state legislature is one of the most solidly Republican in the South.
There is no question that some voters did vote against Sen. Vitter to also vote against Gov. Jindal. Some voters probably did not like that fact that he was running for president and his statewide popularity numbers were in the 30s. So who knows if Gov Jindal did more to help Sen. Vitter would it have helped or hurt more?
What is clear is that this is more of a blip for Democrats than a preview of 2016. In fact this was much more of a GOP year than not. Look at Kentucky as a Tea Party Republican, Matt Bevin, won the governor's mansion. Look at Virginia as the GOP kept control of the senate and the state legislature.
In about two months, we will see what all of this means for the Republicans as caucus-goers in Iowa and voters in New Hampshire will set the pace and if it is going to be a Republican year all the way around.

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