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Does Nagin read my posts? Or do we think alike strategically?

Something I seldom do is have to eat my words, when I pronounced six months ago that Ray Nagin could not win the New Orleans mayor’s race. At least I knew enough to figure out how Nagin did it before he did.

It’s a bit early to tell just how one part of the strategy, attract Republican voters, fared. (That will come, when I can get the post-election statistics available in the next few days.) Certainly anecdotal evidence would suggest that was happening when former Republican candidate Rob Couhig provided a lodestar to these individuals with his endorsement of Nagin. You heard at best veiled references from Nagin and his supporters about the “Landrieu dynasty” with a Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu win that would encourage these voters either to back Nagin, or to sit this one out – either worked to Nagin’s advantage.

But that could only neutralize potential Landrieu votes; Nagin also needed to create new votes to win. And that’s exactly what it appears he did, since it would have to be from two sources, the black-majority areas of town repopulating faster than the others because they have been depopulated the most but, most importantly, from displaced voters.

Consider that in the primary that 21,351 absentee/early votes were cast. If we put together Nagin’s and Couhig’s, they were about 9,000 of those, but Landrieu’s and those of the one major candidate that endorsed him, Ron Forman, were in the neighborhood of 11,000. For Nagin to have a chance, he would have to create at 2,000 more votes.

As it turned out, almost 25,000 did vote this way in the general election runoff, and of these “new” votes, it appears that Nagin grabbed almost all of these 3,500 as his total went over 12,500 (Landrieu’s plus other candidates inched up a little). Do not be surprised it if turns out that the black percentage of these votes comes closer to 70 percent this time out.

No doubt it was the assistance of some interest groups who wanted to see a black face as New Orleans mayor come Bobby Jindal endorsements or not helped Nagin to his win. And many other intriguing stories abound as a result of this – how does this affect Landrieu’s career, even his entire family’s, or state-level politics, or the recovery, or what about the parallel storylines that only one elected official in the majoritarian branches in New Orleans (5th District Assessor Tom Arnold, no less!) is a Republican, or how six of those assessors managed reelection, or even how just days ago it appeared the displaced vote was not going to come in at the level he needed to win?

But, for now, I’ll just say, a lot of people underestimated Nagin.

1 comment:

oyster said...

"A lot of people underestimated Nagin"

Yes. Some more than others.