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Election dynamics favor Carmody in special election

Of those that matter for the House District 6 special election next month, the field is probably set with former Shreveport city councilman Thomas Carmody and becoming-perennial candidate Barrow Peacock, both Republicans. Two other potentially viable candidates, current City Councilman Monty Walford and recent state attorney general candidate Royal Alexander appear to have opted out. Democrat Walford probably took a look at the heavily Republican district that doesn’t much overlap his present one and thought discretion was the better part of valor, while Republican Alexander probably concluded his recent expensive campaign was too much too quickly.

Another Democrat that could run is Caddo Parish School Board Member Charlotte Crawley. However, she would suffer from the same political problems as Walford and therefore has little chance of winning.

Carmody has been out of office a year and built up much goodwill among local Republicans for his service there as perhaps the leading fiscal conservative. (A few, however, might blame him for being the deciding vote in a 2002 redistricting plan that enabled Democrats to get a council majority, although others argue with the numbers going the way they were it was the best deal possible.) He won two impressive victories but his council district covers only about half of this state district.

Peacock ran for this seat in 2003 but was drubbed by resigning seat-holder Mike Powell. His 2007 Senate District 37 run encompassed most of the area, including the Bossier City portion, but again he failed to make the general election runoff. In addition, many Republican activists were distressed by his failure to publicly endorse eventual winner last fall state Sen.-elect B.L. “Buddy” Shaw over state Rep. Billy Montgomery who had switched to the GOP but whose voting record was much less conservative than had been Shaw’s when he had been a state House member from 1996-2004.

While Carmody has the advantages of electoral success, proven money-raising ability, and GOP goodwill, Peacock has the advantages of having run in the Bossier portion of the district twice, having run more recently (Carmody’s only serious-contested contest occurred in 1998), and can raise a lot of money very quickly. (Peacock’s campaigns have been enormously self-funded; in his latest bid – pending campaign finance reports due soon – he spent over $300,000 of which well over $200,000 was his own money which was probably more than any single legislative candidate in the state spent.)

But what gives Carmody the edge is that this special election, in tandem with presidential preference primaries, will disproportionately attract party activists. Especially after Peacock seemed to thumb his nose at the GOP with the failure to endorse Shaw and never having been much of a favorite of theirs anyway, Carmody will be their choice. Peacock can expect little enthusiasm from Democrats having spent much to craft a solidly conservative image of himself in last year’s campaign and if Crawley runs that is moot, so his best shot would be to pour his own resources into getting Bossier voters out. However, given the dynamics of this race, it’s not likely to be enough.

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