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Postponed election likely negatively impacts Carmouche

Sec. of State Jay Dardenne’s recommendation that Gov. Bobby Jindal reschedule congressional primary elections to Oct. 4 changes dynamics in contests, one in a major way, and carries with it a hint of irony as well.

Dardenne maintains a four-week delay is necessary to ensure all the infrastructure for the elections assuredly will be in place. It also helps out those candidates that otherwise might have been scrambling for quick fundraising had these been postponed only a week or two, as I noted recently. Four weeks buys a couple of weeks worth of begging for money, and then allocated in the last couple of weeks instead of having no chance to raise funds for a last-week blitz that a short delay would have turned into two or three weeks.

Still, candidates lagging their fields do get helped by this, as they have nowhere to go but up with an extra 28 days. But what truly will be interesting is that the chain reaction puts party runoffs on national election day Nov. 4 if there are any (if not, the general election occurs in those contests) and then on Dec. 6 would be the general election, over a month behind the rest of the country.

This will have a dramatic impact on one House contest. The Fourth District’s Republican nomination will not be settled on Oct. 4 so there will be a runoff on Nov. 4. This is to the major disadvantage of any Democrat running, although it is highly likely that their nomination will be won by next month by former Caddo District Attorney Paul Carmouche. His problem is that, in the conservative district where he has been somewhat unconvincingly been trying to place himself as a moderate, he will need strong black turnout to overcome whichever genuine conservative emerges as the GOP nominee. He would have a decent chance at that, were the general election on Nov. 4 with Sen. Barack Obama heading the Democrat ticket for president.

But on Dec. 6, this contest will be only one of two in the country (the Second District being the other as no Democrat will win the nomination outright, but whoever does will be extremely likely to win the seat on this day). There will be no black candidate topping the ticket to draw black votes to the polls on behalf of Carmouche. Worse for him, if Obama goes down to defeat the month prior, the palpable disappointment will depress black turnout even further. This will make his trying to win in this kind of district more difficult.

There’s some irony to the postponement, as one of the major reasons why the blanket primary was abandoned for federal elections in Louisiana was legal restrictions forced contests to be decided after the rest of the country voted. Here, the first federal elections after changing the law, the same is exceptionally likely to happen in two cases.

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