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Making runoff best reelection shot for AG Caldwell

Atty. Gen. Buddy Caldwell’s making it to a runoff in his reelection bid presents his best chance of succeeding in that regard, independent polling information suggests.

The recent media poll of a few of Louisiana’s statewide elections shows the Republican incumbent leading with 30 percent, followed by main challenger Republican former Rep. Jeff Landry at 20 percent, with Democrat lawyers and former government officials Ike Jackson and Geri Broussard-Baloney at 11 and 5 percent, respectively, and with Republican former prosecutor Marty Maley joining her at 5 percent. A significant 28 percent called itself undecided.

Often, these are terrible numbers for an incumbent, not only because after eight years in office Caldwell only draws three-tenths of the intended vote, but because two-sevenths of it says itself to be undecided, which often translates to they don’t want to vote for the incumbent but can’t decide upon which challenger to support (although some will not vote at all). In this case, these merely are only bad numbers, because in a lower-interest contest such as this one a decent portion of the undecided simply have not paid attention to this race and may yet decide to vote for the incumbent.


Education issues figure prominently in NW LA races

Education issues will play a big part in at least a couple of contests this fall in northwest Louisiana, according to campaign rhetoric that voters must consider carefully.

Obviously these will in the race for District 4 of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. This one features three Republicans: the appointed incumbent principal Mary Harris, challenger teacher Glynnis Johnston, and challenger businessman Tony Davis.

Whether to support reforms implemented in the past few years to Louisiana’ historically worst-in-the-nation educational system has created a fault line across the state in BESE competitions. These changes for the first time demand meaningful accountability out of schools and teachers, through the use of valid and more objective performance measurements and in increased parental schooling choices for their children. As such, these have become bitterly resisted by teacher unions and teachers unwilling or unable to raise their levels of performance, by administrators and school board members whose jobs and reelections are threatened, and by ideologue policy-makers who prefer government command and control that places the desires of adults over the needs of children.


Questionable poll illustrates left's fear of Vitter

Mass-production pollster Public Policy Polling, which works for Democrats and leftist causes, recently put out a poll that showed in hypothetical runoffs with Republicans major Democrat gubernatorial candidate state Rep. John Bel Edwards hanging in there and, in the case of frontrunner Sen. David Vitter, decisively defeating him. Is this believable?

Probably not, for a number of reasons, one of these being the quality of PPP surveys regarding state-level elections. PPP produces a high number of these by using less-rigorous methodology that serves to lower cost. As a result, their products often are all over the map, sometimes pretty accurate and sometimes wildly off, with the latter represented by its final effort in last year’s Senate contest that significantly over-predicted support for former Sen. Mary Landrieu. In fact, the 2014 cycle produced a great amount of inconsistency for it. As such, of the 21 outfits that have produced at least such 50 polls since 1998, it ranks in about the middle for accuracy.

Further, it seems that its recent trend towards increased chances of less accuracy has occurred as it practices fiddling with sampling frames to fit a preconceived notion of the electorate that leans in the direction of favoring Democrat candidates in these contests. Finally, keep in mind that this effort came at the behest of the political action committee set up expressly to defeat Vitter and is run by the guy who was formerly the head administrator of Louisiana’s Democrats and the campaign manager of Vitter’s vanquished main 2010 Senate challenger.


Barring felons as candidates improves governance

It’s possible that Prisoner #30609-034 will skate his way onto a ballot this fall, but whether he does he and those like him in the future should not have this chance that degrades the quality of governance in Louisiana.

Better known as former state Sen. Derrick Shepherd, he recently exited the slammer after having served felony time for corruption in office. However, despite the Constitution making him ineligible to run for state office for 15 years after finishing his sentence without a pardon from the appropriate official, he signed up to run for his old House seat. A series of court maneuvers then ensued trying to throw him off the ballot or him trying to stay on it, based upon the Constitution’s provision.

These have come on two tracks, one weighing his status on how he thinks he should qualify within the provision, and the other on the constitutionality of the provision itself, where plaintiffs claimed the actual legislative instrument got lost in translation on the way to the ballot language to amend it into the document, which should nullify the successfully amended-in passage. The Louisiana Supreme Court is expected to rule on both questions in the near future.