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Special elections signal trouble for incumbents, Democrats

Two trends concerning 2007 elections to the Louisiana Legislature hypothesize that revulsion against incumbents will magnify to the benefit of Republicans. Special House elections today presented no signs of invalidating either supposition.

While none of the contests obviously featured an incumbent, two of them had a candidate who was a high-profile incumbent in another position. In District 4, Shreveport City Councilman Calvin “Ben” Lester found himself out in the cold, missing a runoff from the all black Democrat field that sent former Caddo Parish Commissioner Patrick Williams and former City Councilman Larry Ferdinand to next month’s election. Lester certainly did not help his own cause with recent ethical problems concerning both campaign finance and legal services issues.

In District 1, current Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Morris did win (going away) – but he also was a Republican in a formerly Democrat district deemed very vulnerable for takeover as a result of term limits (prematurely in this case becaue of the untimely death of Roy “Hoppy” Hopkins). This result, combined with the special election result for Senate District 16 in December, would seem to indicate that in this kind of district an experienced Republican will do well, but in other districts where term limits have kicked in, woe be an incumbent legislator of any party facing a quality opponent.

A few elections a trend doesn’t make, but simultaneously they demonstrate anti-current-legislative-incumbency and GOP momentum may play big roles in elections later this year.

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