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Maness endorsement drama shows lack of commitment

We are finding out whether Rob Maness ran for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana because he was in it for the sake of the state and country, as mediated by the conservative philosophy that he often articulated, or whether because he was in it first and foremost for himself.

Typically when a vanquished legislative candidate, such as Maness who drew votes from a respectable seventh of the electorate in the general election, is of the same party of a candidate who bested him courtesy of Louisiana’s blanket primary system and says he agrees with most every issue preference of that candidate, in this case of fellow Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, an endorsement follows in short order. Initially, Maness indicated that would be the case. But as of three days after his defeat, none has been forthcoming.

If Maness were a noble conservative, there shouldn’t be any hesitation to endorse Cassidy who in office has a very solid conservative record while the incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu’s is very liberal. For that very reason, many were perplexed when some 18 months ago in announcing his running for the Senate Maness, only recently had moved to the state and having laid zero groundwork in making connections to Republicans and conservatives in the state, proclaimed that the state’s people that he was a “genuine” if not “uncorrupted” by Washington conservative as opposed to Cassidy and therefore conservatives had to vote for him, when the record emphatically contradicted his caricature of Cassidy.


Skrmetta must step up to prevent takeover of PSC

Even as Democrats and liberals went into retreat nationally in elections earlier this week, including the disastrous showing of Louisiana’s Sen. Mary Landrieu, a liberal masquerading as a Republican could wrench away a moderate conservative majority on the Public Service Commission next month.

Almost as stunningly underwhelming as Landrieu’s performance Tuesday night was that of Republican District 1 Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who actually trailed Forest Bradley Wright by a percentage point at only 37 percent. It never should have been that close, for Wright, who got routed two years ago in a different district running as a Democrat and has strong support from leftists in the environmental movement and the state’s solar industry and others with hands out for subsidies that the PSC can provide through its regulations, seems a poor match for a district that has trended more and more Republican and conservative.

But Wright cleverly ran as a Republican in a race that people usually are ill-informed about. He also spent almost as much money as Skrmetta, almost half of which came from identifiably solar energy interests. The irony there is that his campaign criticized Skrmetta from accepting donations from other energy concerns directly regulated by the PSC, which amounted to about a third of Skrmetta’s total haul over the past few years, while pledging not to take any, even though he has taken the lion’s share of money that he raised from concerns that directly benefit from PSC actions, even if they are not directly regulated. For example, the PSC has wrestled with the issue of net metering, whether it ought to make ratepayers without solar power subsidize those that have it. Skrmetta has opposed that, but Wright, who worked for alternative energy interests, would serve as a sure tool shilling for these interests if he replaced him.


Election disaster puts Landrieu career on life support

Such was the Republican wave Nov. 4 that, had one not known the date, upon hearing Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu’s reflective, almost elegiac in content, remarks as the vote nearly had come in, one would have thought it was Dec. 6 and she was issuing a concession speech.

GOP gains nationally were on the high end of Congressional picks, including taking control of the Senate, and even the gubernatorial contests that they were expected to have small net losses turned out to be a net gain. It won’t be known for days, but hundreds of state legislative seats in net will turn over from Democrat to Republican as well.

The wave manifested itself in her contest for reelection by having her pull only 42 percent of the vote – a bare 16,000 votes ahead of her runoff competitor Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy with mid-major Republican candidate Rob Maness pulling over 200,000 votes. Only in Louisiana with its blanket primary system could an incumbent with such a terrible total against major party competition be in any contention to hold onto to the seat – as if. Those numbers alone make her a politically dead woman walking, yet it gets worse.


GOP complacency could prevent Landrieu ousting

With Louisiana’s Senate and Fifth and Sixth Congressional District contests likely unsettled this week, a past pairing of Senate and House runoff contests is instructive as to how these will proceed next month.

Because of the state’s blanket primary system, where all candidates regardless of party label run together with a runoff if necessary if no candidate secure half plus one of the vote, and federal law and court rulings that call the initial contest a general election, the runoff if needed must be done later in the year, in 2014 on Dec. 6. This creates an unusual situation when it occurs district- or statewide with few, if any, local contests scattered around, when almost all other races for national offices elsewhere in the country have been settled.

As a result, conventional wisdom holds that runoff turnout with few, if any, other candidates or issues on the ballot should decline. And reviewing the two instances of House election runoffs in Decembers of non-presidential election years (it wasn’t until 1998 that the state had to schedule them then, and 2010 was the brief period during the closed primary experiment for federal offices that didn’t require a runoff), in one instance turnout dropped by 30 percent, and in the other, the Fifth District contest of 2002, by 7 percent.


Filings show supporters, chances of Shreveport aspirants

With the filing of campaign finance reports for Shreveport’s mayoral candidates, it becomes clearer which factions have lined up behind what candidates in a contest that has jumbled typical alignments, and who will be competitive.

State Rep. Patrick Williams leads the way with money raised. He has presented himself as an outsider to current Shreveport city government, and even though he is a Democrat was able months ago to secure pledges of support from some prominent Republican activists and officeholders. His donor base matches the eclectic nature of his public endorsements.

On his September submission (which does not actually list him as running for mayor but for reelection, which allows him to charge expenses for that office, repeated on his October one,) are some of the usual suspects, such as nursing home and medical interests, black Democrat activists and officeholders, trial lawyers, unions, and leftist interest groups. But a couple of Republican officeholders appear as well as some GOP activists, and some local newspapermen. Perhaps most notably are remnants of the white Democrat power structure that last controlled city government under the aegis of former Mayor Keith Hightower.