Friday, November 20, 2015

Louisiana Governor Election- Updated Prediction

Status: Republican Open
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Prediction: Leans Democrat - (change from Tossup (R) )

Well, I was hoping not to have to do this, but it does look like Louisiana voters will choose Democrat John Bel Edwards over Republican David Vitter in tomorrow's runoff election, and thus I am changing my prediction and altering my ranking two spots to the left.

It is not that Louisiana as a state is moving to the left, but this was clearly the wrong race at the wrong time for Senator Vitter, who will now face many calls to not even bother to try to immediately seek reelection to the U.S. Senate as a consolation prize.

The fact that Louisiana has a pretty unpopular GOP Governor is not helping the situation for Vitter, but most of his problems can be chalked up to issues surrounding his personal life several years back and what is believed to have been a penchant for prostitution. Charlie Sheen may be forgiven by voters for that sort of thing, but a socially conservative politician like Vitter is probably not going to be so lucky, even though it previously did not stop him from being reelected to the Senate.

When I wrote about this race, right before the first round of voting, I said that party unity would be crucial if Vitter were to have a chance. That has not happened. While the Senator finished ahead of two other major GOP candidates, neither have rallied to his cause. The closest Republican candidate has remained uncommitted and the third finishing Republican has actually endorsed the Democrat.

As I have mentioned before, political parties as institutions in Louisiana are historically weak, and even the unpopularity of Barack Obama, is probably not going to be enough to tilt this towards the Republican Party. Yes, that is precisely what happened in Kentucky earlier this month, in spite of the polls, but those polls showed a closer race than most in Louisiana, which show Edwards up by double digits and perhaps as much as 20 points.

Even with all Vitter's problems, this result would be far more unlikely if they were able to point effectively to Edwards as being liberal. The former military man though is Pro-Life and conservative on issues such as guns. Thus, the wedge issues that could work in conservative Louisiana are somewhat off the table.

What Vitter really needed was for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to endorse the Democrat, but they knew better and Edwards, who finished first in the earlier round, as the main Democrat candidate, has maintained his lead. Some believe that the race could have been shifting in recent days over the red-hot political flashpoint involving Syrian refugees in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in France.

Vitter has taken the popular position in pushing back against Obama's plan to bring Syrian refugees to the U.S., including to Louisiana, despite questions about the vetting process. Governors, most of them Republican, such as Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, have pushed back against those plans,and it has been a very major topic of discussion the past week. Nearly 50 Democrats in the U.S. House defied Obama and their leadership to side with Republicans in passing a bill to bring about more accountability in the vetting process.

This has put Edwards into somewhat of a difficult predicament, but after giving somewhat mixed messages, the Democrat has now called for a pause in the resettling of Syrian refugees in Louisiana, while also accusing Vitter of lying about the issue. The main theme of the Edwards campaign has been that Vitter is immoral and untrustworthy. It is not exactly an uplifting message for the Democrats, but it probably will be a winning one in these current political times.

So, it looks like the Governorship of Louisiana will shift after tomorrow to a Democrat, albeit a very conservative one, and perhaps a permanent death knell for a GOP politician once considered a rising national star.  In spite of all that, there will be no net change in the Gubernatorial balance of power, after the Republicans' impressive pick up in Kentucky.


At 3:06 AM, Blogger MARK TRAINA said...


VITTER has had some difficulties in his PERSONAL LIFE, but haven't we all?

EDWARDS has VOTED with PRESIDENT OBAMA on too many occasions for a traditionally RED STATE!



At 3:23 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

My prediction: Vitter WINS 55%-45%!

Remember, last year, nobody thought Larry Hogan (R) would get elected to the MD governorship!


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