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LA early voting clues only to Democrat in-fights

Early voting in Louisiana tells a tale of disproportionately fewer black voters participating, presaging the total vote – but not that it will make much difference in most final outcomes.

When considering these early totals for the period that ended earlier this week, the state hit an all-time high for midterm elections (early voting became available in 2008) at just over 12 percent. Some notable aspects stand out.

First of all, when looking at statewide numbers historically, contrary to popular folklore asserting that blacks vote disproportionately early compared to whites, in Louisiana at least there has been no difference with race. The ratio of white/black turnout percentages of their total registrations voting early from 2008-2020 average was 1.14. The same computation for total voting (early plus election day) over that period was virtually identical, so both races voted in roughly the same proportions early to election day. However, this masks a trend that perhaps fueled the popular perception; even as blacks voted early at a higher proportion from 2008-14, since then whites have. So, a continuation of this more recent trend wouldn’t be a big surprise.


Blanket system not conducive to party harmony

It almost certainly will fall on deaf ears, it almost certainly won’t work, and it almost certainly won’t matter, but the most consequential outcome from the two most prominent Republican candidates for Louisiana governor in 2019 calling for the party to rally around one candidate for 2023 will be to highlight the infirmity of the state’s blanket primary system of elections, especially from the perspective of the majority party.

This week, both Eddie Rispone, who narrowly lost to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards in the 2019 runoff, and former Rep. Ralph Abraham, who narrowly trailed Rispone after the general election, called on the Republican State Central Committee to issue an endorsement of GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, the only formally announced candidate for 2023. The state’s system – technically not featuring a primary election because this doesn’t award a nomination into the general election but is the general election itself – has all candidates regardless of label run together without a formal nomination process that stamps an official party candidate.

The two other announced, but not formally so, Republican candidates for the top job, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Treas. John Schroder, predictably thought little of the idea that they should step aside voluntarily. That’s no surprise: as snagging a runoff spot they think gives them a better-then-even chance of winning and especially against a Democrat if a quality candidate emerges from that party, why voluntarily surrender before a shot is fired?


Echoes of establishment/reform tilt in SD 31

The contest 50 weeks away for Louisiana’s Senate District 31 has shaped up to turn back the clock 16 years in pitting a known conservative against an opponent with questions about his true beliefs.

In 2007, upon the term limitation of Shreveport Republican Max Malone for Senate District 37, GOP former state Rep. Buddy Shaw from Shreveport, who had retired after two terms in 2003,  looked to succeed him in the district that spanned southern Caddo and Bossier Parishes. He faced a formidable foe in Republican state Rep. Billy Montgomery of Haughton who was term-limited like Malone after serving in his post for 20 years. Three other quality candidates competed (including future holder of the seat Republican Barrow Peacock) but when the dust settled those two headed to the runoff.

Caddo Parish registrants outnumbered Bossier’s 53 to 47 percent, but Montgomery piled up a huge spending advantage. In this election, relying heavily on print and electronic outreach, he would spend nearly $300,000 to make it into the runoff and over $500,000 total – at the time the most ever for a legislative contest. (That would be topped by just over $10,000 12 years later in neighboring District 36 when GOP state Sen. Ryan Gatti failed to secure reelection, although in his case a much higher proportion was self-financed.)


Legislature can defeat Edwards' sue/settle deal

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards strikes again on behalf of trial lawyer allies and additionally for climate alarmism, but the Legislature can moot the deleterious impact upon the citizenry.

Last week, the state’s Department of Natural Resources intervened to sign a settlement on behalf of four parish governments, out of a dozen, who had refused to ratify this that would have Freeport McMoRan pay $100 million to these entities for alleged environmental degradation as a result of their past activities. Roughly 200 other firms face over 40 similar actions.

The terms commit the company to pay out $15 million in 2024 and $4.25 million in each of the next two years, and in that span and over the succeeding 17 years the balance can come from sale of environmental credits, which fund environmental restoration and can be sold to others to offset the obligation. However, for any of this to go into effect, a regulatory agency must be created by the Legislature to control disbursement. If that doesn’t happen by 2024, only the first year of payment remains and that may end up in the pocket of private land owners. Continued inaction eventually scuttles every other aspect.


BC must reject broke BPSB's dubious deal

It looks as if one zombie was killed off, but another seems poised to start terrorizing taxpayers in Bossier City and Bossier Parish.

The City Council will pass budget ordinances this week, minus a contemplated $55,000 to hire a presumed specialist in civil service procedures working out of the city attorney’s office. At two points in time, the Council had on the agenda hiring an individual – the father of city Chief Administrative Officer Amanda Nottingham – but wisely pulled back. This expenditure never made any sense, as surely the intricacies of civil service law weren’t beyond City Attorney Charles Jacobs and his staff that would require intervention by a retired senior police official for a few months to sort out.

The excuse had been that former Police Chief Chris Estess – a veteran of nearly 35 years in the department – was too unknowledgeable about that area of policy and needed help. But with Estess shown the door and the request now dropped, are we to assume new chief Daniel Haugen – a two-decade veteran and husband of city Comptroller Molly Haugen – is up to speed on all that, hence no more need for an extra temporary hire?