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8.8.08

Fleming becoming formidable 4th District candidate

The 4th Congressional District contest has taken another turn with a front-runner emerging among the competitive Republicans, and the reason why could make him the favorite come the general election.

A new poll commissioned by Republican Dr. John Fleming shows him pulling away from the other two GOP candidates, Chris Gorman and Jeff Thompson. The respected Southern Media and Opinion Research group puts him at 43 percent of Republican voters, while Gorman checks in at 17 percent and Thompson at 15 (the remainder of the sample of 350 don’t know or wouldn’t say). More remarkable is that fundraising totals would have predicted the opposite order.

Of these candidates, Fleming and Gorman had raised substantially the same money, significantly ahead of Thompson; however, the majority in both cases was from their own funds. Thompson has tossed in only $50,000 of his own but independently raised more than either. Most interesting is that Gorman has independently raised almost three times as much as Fleming.

Often a good indicator of candidate success comes from donations. Giving to a candidate not only signals a very high likelihood of the donor voting for the candidate (unless multiple candidates in that race are so blessed by that individual), but also usually means that donor will pull in friends and family to do so accordingly. There’s no bigger booster of a candidate than somebody who already put his money down on him.

By that metric, Thompson ought to be doing best, followed by Gorman and Fleming. Historically, heavy and sufficient (i.e. a few hundred thousand dollars) self-financing of a campaign will make you competitive but far from guarantees a win. The success of Fleming, with about 80 percent of his campaign self-financed, also is all the more remarkable given his strategic base of Minden is much smaller than the Shreveport (Gorman)-Bossier (Thompson) metropolitan population.

This means Fleming’s success must be due to a convincing message well delivered. Such an explanation also is consistent with the results of a poll announced in mid-June by Gorman which, while short on details, appeared to read that while a majority of voters had yet to state a preference, the plurality that did chose Gorman. Only he at that time had cranked up major campaign efforts. Since then, Fleming and Thompson have joined him and it would appear Fleming is sweeping up the majority of more recent deciders.

On issue preferences, there actually is not a lot of difference among the three, all mainstream conservatives dissatisfied with business as usual in Washington, but what seems to set Fleming apart is while the other two’s backgrounds show they took advantage of opportunity, Fleming made his own breaks. For example, while Thompson (after experience in, of all places, almost certain Democrat nominee former Caddo District Attorney Paul Carmouche’s law practice) eventually established his own law practice and headed the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, and Gorman came into his family’s trucking business Tango Transport, Fleming not only built a practice from the bottom up with nothing, he then diversified into doing the same with Subway and UPS franchises probably creating more jobs than the Bossier Chamber or Tango.

This shows initiative appealing to the conservative Republican base in northwest Louisiana, and that may be what could give the edge to Fleming over the very politically experienced Carmouche in the general electorate. While he may have the job of a prosecutor down pat, to date he has appeared very unsteady to run the Democrats’ Southern playbook of enunciating vaguely broad, popular platitudes, giving a conservative line on God and guns, and deflecting any other inquiries highlighting the liberal Democrat agenda supported by the party leadership on which he will be required to vote (if not willingly) its way most of the time if elected.

Worse, he seems to have little grasp about other, important issues or, in his haste to obscure his and/or his party’s preference, tries to talk around them (his obscurant, rambling non-answer to a question about the Employee Free Choice Act which would permit union intimidation of workers on YouTube is becoming legendary in the district). Fleming’s no-nonsense, straightforward approach – a good example being how his criticism of the Louisiana Legislature’s attempted pay raise well before its veto distinguished him as one of the “common men” disgusted with career politicians – would provide an effective counter to Carmouche’s evasiveness that reinforces the stereotype of the Democrat as a career politician.

Local Republicans have been hoping a leader would emerge among their three candidates so as to concentrate fire on Carmouche as early as possible. Despite the odds, Fleming may prove to be the answer.

8 comments:

Charlie Buras said...

Jeff you must not have seen the candidate forum on KTBS. I thought Gorman established himself as the clear front runner.

And I don't know about you, but I'm extremely cautious about swallowing hook, line & sinker any poll commissioned by a candidate's campaign. Especially one with such high numbers 30 days out of a 3 way GOP primary. I'd be very, very interested to see a full data set with cross tabs on that Fleming poll!

Anonymous said...

I have had business dealings with John Fleming in his role as a physician and trust me if he treats his constituents like he has treated people calling on him over the years you do not want this man as your representative because he will be completely unapproachable.

Jack Mayhoffer said...

I've suffered through Dr. Fleming's online videos posted on his website. His positions on the chosen issues (more Federal, than state) seem to mirror those of the current Repbulican regime in the White House. VOTERS BEWARE

Forward>Worthy said...

this is a funny video on youtube about fleming!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oExBIhXvaw

Anonymous said...

Shreveport's black political machine that got Cedric Glover elected will be solidly behind Carmouche. They are eager to eliminate the Republicans' hold on the 4th Congressional District and, this time, they may have the votes to do it. I like John Fleming, but I would think that Chris Gorman, being Shreveport based, would have a better chance of beating Carmouche unless Fleming can get a substantial portion of the 4th District vote outside of Shreveport.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I have read your blog site. All of your rhetoric shows that you are in Gorman's camp. You have repeatedly hit Thompson and you question Fleming's poll done by the most respected polling firm in LA and now you are questioning a Ph.D in Political Science? If you aren't going to be fair, just admit that you are working for Gorman!

Anonymous said...

Chris Gorman doesn't have a shot to win this election and ESPECIALLY does not have a shot to beat Carmouche.

Carmouche would chew him up and spit him out. Keep in mind, the ONLY reason Gorman is in this race is because his FATHER'S money.

The funniest thing of it all is Gorman said he "attended" Harvard Executive MBA which is a euphemism for "he signed up for an online MBA program through Harvard anyone can do, yet still didn't finish!!"

Anonymous said...

CHARLIE,

For the honest people of Louisiana's sake, give them full disclosure.

CHARLIE BURAS IS IN GORMAN'S CAMP. GORMAN IS MORE THAN LIKELY BUYING THIS MEDIA JUST LIKE HE HAS PAID FOR OTHER MEDIA TO WRITE PUFF PIECES ON HIM. I.E. www.lanewslink.com

KEEP THIS IN MIND PEOPLE!!!