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Survey hints at Edwards reelection prospects

The recently-released Louisiana Survey provides more bad news than good for Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ reelection chances.

This snapshot of public opinion compiled by Louisiana State University’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs on an annual basis looks at issues of the day. This edition focused on some systemic policies of long standing, plus perceptions state government and the economy. It doesn’t ask about assessments of politicians, candidates, or parties,
and releases on other matters will follow in the future.

At the presidential level, a number of models to predict who wins these contests base their results mainly on economic performance and candidate or incumbent popularity (and, according to the data at this point, these point to Pres. Donald Trump winning reelection). That doesn’t translate as well to governors, in that the impact of state economic perceptions is much smaller, and that presidential popularity and the electorate’s general ideology loom larger.


Two-faced Edwards rejects significant savings

As usual, it turns out that Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Not to the surprise of close watchers of Edwards’ political career, last week the Democrat renounced adding work requirements for able-bodied adults to enroll in Medicaid expansion after having paid lip service to the idea in the past. Instead, he offered up a miniscule program to train unemployed Medicaid recipients.

This echoes his reversal of a last-minute policy change by his predecessor that made able-bodied adults without dependents fulfill a work, training, or community engagement standard in order to receive Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program aid. Back then, he produced a fig leaf for doing nothing in the form of a cosmetic executive order that essentially changed nothing about gaining SNAP eligibility while alleging otherwise.


LSUS/Tech merger idea worse than before

Despite a weak case seven years ago that has only deteriorated since, another stab is being taken at merging my employer Louisiana State University Shreveport with Louisiana Tech University.

Democrat state Rep. Cedric Glover filed HB 470, which would fold LSUS into Tech as soon as accreditation hurdles and other legal niceties happen, likely years from now. By this August, to facilitate this transformation, LSUS would move out of the Louisiana State University System and into the University of Louisiana System.

Glover gave a completely different reason for the change than did supporters of the 2012 move. Then, they argued the LSU System neglected the campus that they claimed was slowly wasting away. At the time, the System said it would introduce measures to cut costs and boost enrollments, such as expanding course and degree offerings through its flagship institutions in Baton Rouge.


Cantrell wins, perhaps despite her influence

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell won, even though she may not have had anything to do with it.

Last weekend, dozens of local measures peppered ballots across the state for voter assessment. Perhaps the most prominent was a proposal to increase property taxes on New Orleanians designed to pass through to fund operations of the New Orleans Council on Aging.

Although the City Council unanimously put the measure on the ballot and no other area elected officials opposed it, Cantrell did so. She rightly pointed out that the city ought not to lock in a new tax the proceeds of which likely would have distributed by a nongovernment organization, but that the city should have more direct control over these disbursements which wouldn’t necessarily need a new tax to fund that commitment.


LA GOP, conservatives suffer election setbacks

Things didn’t go as planned for Louisiana Republicans in the weekend’s runoff elections, raising doubts about their ability to significantly expand their legislative majorities this fall.

This year so far, three special election runoffs have occurred in House of Representatives districts. Republicans had hoped, in net, to gain a House seat as a result of special elections kicked off last month. Contests predictable in their partisan outcomes settled then, with two of the three resolved this past weekend having implications for the chamber’s partisan balance.

One seemed a forgone conclusion, in District 18 where Democrat Jeremy Lacombe had far outpaced Republican Tammi Fabre and the remainder split mostly among Democrats. With 22 percent having gone to a black candidate and Lacombe having pulled 45 percent in the general election, that Fabre in the runoff ended up eating a little into the votes of candidates who finished off the pace provided only slight comfort to the GOP, with Lacombe winning decisively in a district that Republicans won handily in the past two statewide elections of candidates for federal office.