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After primaries, Scalise, Jenkins still favorites to win

All four party primaries for the 1st and 6th House Districts in Louisiana could have been settled without an April runoff. Instead, some close calls mean each district still will have elections then.

Concerning the First, the only real question was whether state Sen. Steve Scalise could be stopped and, given just a pair of token candidates in the Democratic primary, thereby forcing any balloting at all in the district next month. Whoever wins the GOP primary will win the district, and Scalise seemed the only candidate that could win outright. As it was, he came close but got forced into a runoff picking up only 48 percent of the vote. State Rep. Tim Burns beat out Slidell Mayor Ben Morris largely on his ability to finish second on the south shore and win on the north shore, even in St. Tammany Parish. But Scalise’s close third places on the north shore and crushing south shore wins will make it almost impossible to beat him in April.

Two subplots engaged in the Sixth. On the Republican side, whether former state Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins could win outright was answered when he missed it by 84 votes, pending provisional ballots. Jenkins consistently rolled up half the vote in every parish and it will be interesting to see in runner-up Laurinda Calongne will contest the runoff as odds are incredibly stacked against her that she could win. Unless she is hoping for a miracle, expect a withdrawal, but that means a contest still will happen in this district in April.

This is because as for the Democrats, state Rep. Don Cazayoux proved the strongest with 35 percent and will face in April state Rep. Michael Jackson who got 27 percent. The crucial margin for Cazayoux may have come from non-Democrats who are permitted to vote in this party’s primaries, as whites who register as no party (independent) typically vote at substantially higher rates than blacks of the same registration.

Whether that will translate into a victory remains to be seen. Black candidates picked up 46 percent of the vote and the next highest white candidate former gubernatorial staffer Andy Kopplin got most of his votes in East Baton Rouge. From Pointe Coupee, Cazayoux might not inspire enough passion among those voters while Jackson is sure to sweep up black votes regardless, especially in his home East Baton Rouge.

The larger implications are that Scalise almost certainly will be the new congressman from the First, while Jenkins will be almost as certain a winner in the Sixth should Jackson be able to overtake Cazayoux. If that doesn’t happen, Jenkins’ chances of winning drop to slightly better than even.


Anonymous said...

The real issue is the problem the Republican party has created with these closed primaries.

They were supposed to create a groundswell of loyal GOPers registering Republican instead of independent as they went to when they left the Democrats 10-20 years ago. This DID NOT HAPPEN, as the times pic reported only 1900 people in the 1st (where republcian primary is the only thing that mattered) changed their registration.
This is a district that is at least 70% republican in every race from president to dog catcher. Yet there are MORE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS and only 37% registered GOP. Obviously nearly a majority of GOP voters are registered independents, and some probably still even Dem.

NOT including the independents was a nightmare, many people showing up intending to vote for their favored republican and were told they couldn't vote in the GOP but could in Dem, I know many who did just that--voting for the least threatening Dem.

This is dangerous in two ways: 1) it means more electable democrats get nominated, and 2) it puts them in the pattern of casting a vote for that person.

The first congressional won't matter, but we are very likely to loose the 6th and 4th because of this stupid closed primary.

These are districts that are 58% solid GOP, in every race, but only 26-27% registered. Again, half are independents (meaning the vast majority of independents--nearly all-- are really just republicans. Again there was no registration change here. In republican suburbs the democrat primary had more voters than the republican, even after adjusting for their overall turnoug this is not right in places that normally vote 75%+ GOP.
Many GOP voters ended up voting in their primary.

WE need the dems to nominate a black to win these races in the 4th and 6th with any comfort, and that won't happen if gop leaning independents are directed to their primary instead of ours. We must change this rule or we will loose, maybe not in the 6th but then in the 4th. its like playing russian roulette and its stupid and they should reverse themselves immediately to allow us to have a modified closed in the 4th this fall. Will people agree now that if the 6th goes Dem then they will change this before the 4th.

Jeff Sadow said...

I don't see what you argue here as a realistic scenario. While it's true that encouraging a behavior increases the chances of altering the attitude behind it, in this case meaning a few independents may start leaning towards Democrats, much more likely is many of these independents who got turned away so to speak will now run out and change their registrations to the GOP. For many, the reality posed by this election was the first time there have been consequences to them of having a "misaligned" partisanship. Now that the consequences to them are tangible, many will respond by "correcting" the misalignment.

I think the GOP Republican-only strategy is good for this reason. It will force people into making the change and then the dyanmic described above will redound to the party's benefit, i.e. attitudes following behavior.

Don't make too much of this election. Even if the most quality Democrat in each of the 6th & 4th gets put forward (Cazayoux and Hightower), at the very best they are no better than even money to win and are likelier losers than winners (although judgment on the 4th is more tenuous not knowing who will emerge on the GOP side).

Anonymous said...

You've both neglected the fact that only a plurality will be required to win in the general election. Even if Michael Jackson is the Democratic nominee in the Sixth, he goes into the general election with a very solid base. The question then becomes whether the independent candidates take more votes from Jackson or from Jenkins. Given that at least two of them (Ashley Casey and Randall Hayes) have more-or-less conservative, Republican backgrounds -- and one of them (Casey) is running a serious and pretty strong campaign -- it's hard to predict what will happen in the general. As the Sixth District Republican first primary shows, even a tiny shift in votes can make a big difference.

Jeff Sadow said...

Frankly, chances are high you are investing much more impact in the non-major party candidates than they'll have. Especially in a low-stimulus election such as the one in May would be, major party labels take on even greater importance, either because activists who will turn out disproportionately are more likely to be strong partisans and are more likely to turn out, or more casual voters will be less informed than usual and really in need of cues.

Jackson will top out at 40 percent and those other candidates will not draw 10 percent or more solely from Jenkins. If it's Cazayoux, the scenario is more realistic but then the two will draw some from him as well. In short, we would have to see support for these other candidates far and away above historical norms for them to make a difference.