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Cazayoux win gains short lease on Congressional life

One pretty much knew the outcome of the special election for the Sixth Congressional District in Louisiana was going to be unpredictable. Even more fascinating is that even though it’s over, it’s not really over.

You knew things were getting interesting because it was a special election which tends to bring out an unrepresentative electorate compared to what will come in November with a presidential contest topping the ballot. You also had an independent candidate whose impact in terms of voter diversion from the major party nominees was unknown. You had the Democrat nominee runner-up telling black voters not to vote for the Democrat nominee and that he would run again, basically already campaigning before this one was even decided.

In the end, however, independent Ashley Casey’s campaign really did not change the overall results, where state Rep. Don Cazayoux narrowly upset former state Rep. Louis “Woody” Jenkins. His erstwhile primary opponent state Rep. Michael Jackson’s ads seem to have been countered somewhat by former U.S. Rep. Cleo Fields’ endorsement at the last minute. Jackson and Fields have been allies in the past, and these apparently contradictory moves were entirely by design.

From black politicians’ standpoint, Cazayoux will be easier to knock off than Jenkins would have been in the fall. Jackson plans to run again but as an independent and to make that work he has to have a white Democrat to siphon off enough white votes in a three-contest to win. Had Cazayoux lost, he well may not have tried it again because in November in this district that election will better favor a Republican or a black Democrat.

One reason why is personalistic factors in an isolated contest such as this one featured will play a smaller role with a presidential candidate at the top of a ticket. Jenkins historically has been a divisive politician and his campaign got too fixated on arcane minutiae such as Cazayoux would be taking orders from Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi instead of pounding home his liberal voting record in the state House. Meanwhile, Cazayoux leveled personal attacks on Jenkins. Issues will be more important in November especially with a liberal Democrat to tie Cazayoux around.

Another factor will make that easier, although it won’t be pursued by Jackson, and that will be especially true if Sen. Barack Obama is the nominee as seems likely. That works against Cazayoux in two ways: when not blasting Jenkins, Cazayoux trumpeted some socially conservatives preference of his to obscure his overall political liberalism but being tied to Obama’s social liberalism will negate that, and that Obama’s presence on the Democrat ticket will dissuade white for voting for Cazayoux and encourage blacks to vote for Jackson if he runs.

Finally, with this being a vulnerable seat for Democrats and having to defend Sen. Mary Landrieu’s vulnerable seat, plus with better chances elsewhere in the country and a sputtering Obama to support, national Democrats will not put much money into this contest, unlike this time when there was no other contest to support. Meanwhile, this one will be a priority for the GOP and other unaffiliated supporters.

Thus, Jackson’s plans are best served with a white Democrat in office. His chances especially improve if a quality Republican doesn’t step up soon to run with qualifying beginning in just a couple of months – the compressed schedule being something else working against Cazayoux.

Normally, being in office would give a bump to an incumbent, but Cazayoux barely will have any time in office at all – in fact, probably only enough time to make votes that could hurt rather than help himself. He must immediately gear up for reelection bid that, quite frankly, shows a major portion of his victory came courtesy of black votes the majority of which will disappear if Jackson runs. Even if Jackson doesn’t, an Obama candidacy will probably drive more whites who had voted for him this time into a Republican’s camp than add blacks to his column.

Winning today was nice for Cazayoux, but in reality he has six more months of campaigning ahead and with this win is hardly any closer to winning then. And if Jackson does get into the race, Cazayoux’s Congressional career almost certainly will be among the shortest on record as he has little chance to beat both a Republican and Jackson.


Anonymous said...

The delusional Sadow continues to run his wishful-thinking mouth.

Too bad hardly anyone reads this blog.

Anonymous said...

Lydia Jackson is talking about the same thing in the 4th. I think Paul Carmouche would have a good chance to win this one, but if Ms Jackson comes it the Dems can kiss it goodbye.