The Widdershins

Archive for October 23rd, 2014

2014 election

(sigh) So when is it going to end?  This 2014 election cycle that is.  I am getting hammered (as I’m sure we all are) with the emails, regular mail, commercials on the local channels and even on my computer when I watch the local New Orleans channels on the computer!  And, I’ve had to block my cell phone to just my known contacts because of all the calls even coming in there! Oy vey!  If you don’t have any contested elections in your area then count your lucky stars.  I’m sure everyone is complaining except for the teevee stations who are just raking in the dollahs.

Of course the election that I have a personal interest in is the Senate election in Louisiana pitting incumbent Mary Landrieu against not one but two Republican candidates.  Louisiana has an open primary system.  Actually what we have is called a nonpartisan blanket primary.

Under this system, the candidates receiving the most and second-most votes become the contestants in the general election—as in a runoff election, in a two-round system. (In some cases, this second round of voting is only necessary if no candidate receives an overall majority on the initial ballot.) However, there is no separate party nomination process for candidates before the first round, and political parties are not allowed to whittle-down the field using their own internal processes (e.g., party primaries or conventions). Similarly, it is entirely possible that two candidates of the same political party could advance to the general/run-off.

In Louisiana there is a second round (runoff) between the top two candidates if no candidate wins a simple majority (more than half of the votes) in the first round of balloting. This happens more often with open seats, as incumbents more easily win majorities. The runoff constitutes the general election under Louisiana law even if the general election had two candidates of the same party, a phenomenon which frequently occurs. The only labels originally permitted under the Louisiana law were Democrat, Republican, and No Party; however, as of 2008 the labels of any “registered political party” may be used.[3] The primary has been used in statewide elections since 1975. The system was designed by then-GovernorEdwin Edwards after he had to run in two grueling rounds of the Democratic Primary in 1971 before facing a general election against a well-funded and well-rested Republican, Dave Treen (who himself was elected governor under the new system in 1979).

So on the absentee ballot I just marked, there were any number of candidates from various organizations and then after this primary there will be a second, general election in December.  So after Nov. 4th, we get another month of the mailings, emails, etc.

It’s almost certain that Landrieu will come in first in the primary and then have to face off against Congressman Bill Cassidy.  No one is projecting that she will get the needed fifty percent to avoid the runoff election.  Still, there was an interesting article on nola.com about the election.  It seems there has been a surge in new voters heading into the primary election.

In the badly headlined article on nola.com it stated:

There are 35,918 more registered voters in Louisiana than there were on Aug. 1. This includes 18,912 more black voters and 18,888 more independent or minor political party voters.

And this further:

The Democratic-lead voter drives could be why there is a surge in black voters, who have typically been supportive of Landrieu. There are more African Americans registered to vote in Louisiana in 2014 than there were in 2008 — a surprising statistic given that President Barack Obama was first on the ballot six years ago.

I also found this little tidbit interesting:  “there was also a bump in black voters who are independents or associated with a minor political party — about 7,800 more people in this category”.

While this may be encouraging news for Mary, the numbers aren’t what they used to be:

Overall, Democratic voter registration in Louisiana is significantly lower than the last time Landrieu was on the ballot. There are 171,736 fewer registered Democratic voters than there were in 2008, during the last U.S. Senate race. Meanwhile, Republicans have picked up 68,702 voters in that same time period.

I believe the two things leading to those reduced Democratic numbers are:  (1) The Katrina diaspora where so many A.A. folks in New Orleans ended up mainly in Houston Tx and Atlanta Ga and decided to stay in those cities, and (2) the continued reddening of the state getting it more in line with the other southern states.  It used to be that you could take a map of Louisiana and draw a horizontal line across the state boarders with that line centering on Alexandria La.  Anything above that line would be pretty much Republican with anything below the line, Acadiana and the metro Nola area being pretty much Democratic.  Now not so much.  Now it’s pretty much just Orleans parish which is predominantly Democratic.  Even with the reduced A.A. population it is still a majority A.A. city/parish.

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