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Change law to avoid electoral ménage à trois

At the very least, change Louisiana election rules about runoffs. Better yet, change the entire election system.

That’s lesson to be drawn from the unusual result from last Saturday’s balloting in Senate District 16. The heavily-Republican district produced two GOP candidates with the exact same vote totals, trailing a Democrat. Under Louisiana law, that makes for a runoff among all three candidates, which would have made the Democrat the favorite to win a district someone from her party by the numbers had no business winning.

As it turned out, a recount turned up an additional vote for one of the Republicans, avoiding the ménage à trois. Regardless, the incident should serve as a signal to make some changes. The rule that a runoff should go to three candidates if the second- and third-ranked tie might make sense if Louisiana had an open or closed primary system. In that instance, a general election would feature party nominees (and any no party candidates), of which by definition there could be only one of each.


Resisting St. George illustrates backwards LA

If you want to understand why Louisiana does so poorly in providing opportunity to its citizens, look no further than the St. George microcosm.

Under the radar statewide in last week’s election, a small but comfortable majority voted the new city into existence. This came despite an enormous effort over the past half-dozen years by representatives of the status quo to prevent its birth, sending waves of disinformation about its formation cascading over the local polity.

Those special interests included most local government elites, prominent citizens who didn’t live in the unincorporated area, and largely Democrats at the state level. They hate what St. George stands for: an example of citizens taking back self-governance from elites who support, if not openly then tacitly, the tax-and-spend/crony capitalist/good-old-boy-and-girl government that has shortchanged Louisiana for decades.


LA elections force Democrats into odd strategy

Oddly, Louisiana Democrats likely will stay away from supporting their own party’s candidates to try to run the runoff election table to avoid an electoral catastrophe for the state’s political left.

When the dust settled after Saturday’s elections, with one exception Louisiana’s conservatives had much about which to cheer. That bit of rain on their parade came in the form of incumbent Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards getting above 46 percent of the vote, making him the favorite to win reelection against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in about a month’s time.

Everything else set the state’s left up for close to political disaster at the state level. Republicans snared enough House seats to put them on track to get a supermajority of 70. They reached the Senate supermajority mark of 26. A solid pro-reform majority appeared on poised to continue on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. In the only Supreme Court contest on the ballot, appellate court judge Will Crain, a solid conservative, led the field.


Few dramatic NWLA races, but those went big

Drama appeared in few races this weekend in Bossier and Caddo Parishes, but what few had it produced a lot of it.

Somnambulant Bossier Parish contests – what few occurred in following the generally apathetic attitudes of its citizenry – did result in the dumping of appointed Norman Craig in District 4 in favor of John Ed Jorden, while incumbent Glenn Benton easily turned back a challenge in District 2, Chris Marsiglia picked up the open District 6 seat and Philip Rogers and Jim Viola headed to a runoff for the vacant District 3 seat. All are Republicans, which will leave the GOP with a comfortable 9-2-1 majority.

The real action came with the District 36 state Senate contest. Four years ago, Republican Ryan Gatti ran complaining about tax increases. Squeaking in, he immediately voted to raise taxes and spent the next four years assisting his old chum Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards in growing state government and thwarting tort reform that threatened the amount of lucre he acquires in his full-time job as a trial lawyer.


Edwards only LA Democrat election bright spot

For the first time this election season, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards can be called the favorite to win reelection. It was about the only thing that went right for Louisiana Democrats and their fellow travelers in the 2019 state general elections.

Edwards ended up just over 46.5 percent of the vote, with Republican businessman Eddie Rispone edging past GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham for a runoff spot at a bit over 27 percent of the vote. Three minor candidates collected fewer than three percent among them.

Together, the two major Republicans pulled down just on 51 percent of the vote. They can count on perhaps two percent that went to the minor candidates; with most of the rest not voting in the runoff. Few of these contrarian voters will cast abllots for Edwards; people who vote for minor candidates either do it knowing they don’t want to vote for the incumbent or feel so principled that they won’t vote for anybody but that candidate.