State Rep. Michael Jackson of Baton Rouge hopes to ride the Barack Obama Express like a true Democrat, which he was until a few months ago before no party replaced his official Democratic party affiliation on the ballot. In the race to capture the Sixth Congressional District, Jackson bills himself as an independent Democrat and claims ties to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
That Obama will play a big role in Louisianas congressional races is no surprise. When incumbent Congressman Don Cazayoux sought the Sixth District seat in a May special election, Republican forces accused him of supporting Obamas radical agenda. The New Roads Democrat sidestepped questions then about whom he was supporting for the White House, and the GOPs guilt-by-association strategy failed. In an interesting turn of events, Obama endorsed Cazayoux last month, to little fanfare. A Google search of Cazayouxs campaign Web site reveals no mention of the endorsement or of Obama. Katie Nee, Cazayouxs campaign manager, says the congressman isnt backing away from the nod. Ill take an endorsement over a logo any day, she says, referring to Jacksons campaign graphics that link him to Obama. For now, Cazayoux touts one of his own polls showing him with a more than 2-to-1 lead among African-American voters (Cazayoux, 59 percent; Jackson, 26 percent). The Jackson campaign questions those figures. Overall, Cazayoux has a 16-point lead in the survey over Dr. Bill Cassidy, a Republican state senator from Baton Rouge (48 percent to 32 percent). Jackson trails with roughly 9 percent, with 11 percent undecided. - Jeremy Alford