For months, David Vitter was the prohibitive frontrunner. He has name recognition, political clout, a plethora of cash, and a state whose demographics increasingly favor conservative Republicans. But this is a unique political climate. Jindal, one of the worst governors in the history of the state, has made toxic everything he touched, including the Republican brand. Running as a Republican gubernatorial candidate after Jindal was always going to be tricky. In addition to that, Vitter, as James Carville told Salon recently, is “one of the most flawed candidates in American politics.”—
Louisiana’s statewide primary election on Oct. 24 provided lots of fireworks and a few surprises. In the governor’s race, state Rep. John Bel Edwards garnered an impressive 40 percent of the vote while erstwhile frontrunner David Vitter sputtered into second place with a mere 23 percent. Given the events and revelations of the primary’s final 10 days, if the election were this coming Saturday instead of this past Saturday, Vitter might have finished out of the money entirely. Timing is everything.
Here are the unofficial returns, according to the Secretary of State’s office:
John Bel Edwards, 40 percent
David Vitter, 23 percent
Scott Angelle, 19 percent
Jay Dardenne, 15 percent
All others, 3 percent
Before I dissect Saturday’s returns, I want to say that the gubernatorial runoff is anything but a foregone conclusion. Edwards’s strong finish gives him needed momentum going into the four-week runoff (the general election is Nov. 21), but anyone who underestimates David Vitter is a fool. Louisiana’s senior senator may be the most disliked politician in the state, but he’s also the most capable when it comes to waging electoral combat. And while Edwards clearly has momentum on his side, history in on Vitter’s side. Louisiana hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 2008.
That could change by Nov. 21. Indeed, the Edwards-Vitter runoff will be the ultimate test of the notion that a Dem cannot win statewide in Louisiana. Edwards is as close as the Democrats can get to a perfect candidate for governor — West Point grad, U.S. Army Ranger and 82nd Airborne commander, solid legislative record, history of working well with Republicans as well as Democrats, Catholic, pro-life, pro-gun, rural but with appeal to urban voters. Vitter, meanwhile, is about the most flawed Republican you could imagine — disliked intensely even by members of his own party, self-righteous, hypocritical, ruthless, hounded by scandals (note the plural these days). If you tried to invent a tainted candidate, you’d be hard pressed to come up with somebody worse than Vitter.
Jindal said he was waiting for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse that ruling based on the Supreme Court's decision Friday.
As of Sunday afternoon, Louisiana was the only state in the nation that had not issued any marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"As soon as [the courts] issue their ruling, I suspect it will be a matter of days. I don't know how quickly they will move," Jindal said when asked how soon he will comply with the law.
The chalkboards have been cleared, the erasers dusted, and yearbooks and slam books signed as the 2015 Louisiana Legislature comes to a close. What we found out is that each one of them is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal, also a pack of wolves and a Muppet. Don't you [doo foo] forget about me. Also in this week's Y@ Speak: TED talks, Morrissey and U.S. President Bobby Jindal.
#lalege: pass a tax credit no one gets to offset a fee no one pays to appease a governor no one likes. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead— Jon Frosch (@jonfrosch) June 11, 2015
Following a short Memorial Day break, Y@ Speak hereby declares a roundup of New Orleans' week on Twitter, from Mayor Mitch Landrieu's sick burn to asking the age-old question of why we aren't infested with tarantulas.
Getting anything done with the City of New Orleans is like fighting a bear, except the bear turns up to the fight late holding a daiquiri.— CA$H BANDICOOT (@whodreamedit) May 22, 2015
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