Midterm Races in Louisiana

About a month ago, Sabato’s Crystal Ball ran an article noting that come November 5th we may not know who has control of the Senate.  One of the reasons was Louisiana.  Election Day is like a pseudo-primary in Louisiana where if anyone gets 50% of the vote in any race, they win that office.  If they fail to get 50%, it proceeds to a runoff of the top two vote getters on December 6th.  There is absolutely no drama in the Louisiana congressional delegation races.  The GOP has the advantage 5-1 and it will stay that way.

Instead, the attention is squarely on the Senatorial race against Democratic incumbent [mc_name name=’Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’L000550′ ].  There are nine names on the ballot, but only three that really count.  The first is obviously Landrieu.  The second is the one Republican many believe has the best chance to defeat her- [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001075′ ].  The third is the spoiler- Rob Maness.

First, Landrieu has had a difficult time distancing herself from Obama’s policies which are very controversial and disliked in Louisiana.  She has attempted to be the anti-Obama, but her speeches, votes and records speak louder than words.  There was that infamous speech before the Senate where she declared that Washington did not have a spending problem.  And there have been other gaffes.  The residency “scandal” is just a side show that distracted her and the voters for a brief period.  Her flights on the taxpayer’s dime have persisted as a campaign issue.

[mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001075′ ] is considered a perfect foible for Landrieu.  He is a strong supporter of Republican legislative efforts in the House.  He has received the support of conservative groups and mainstream/establishment Republicans alike.  One thing to watch on Election Day is how both candidates do in the relatively conservative parishes of Jefferson and Tammany.  Landrieu has polled surprisingly well here in past elections.  These may be the two key parishes in Louisiana.  If her performance here is sub-par, she will likely not have an easy night.

Which brings me to Rob Maness who has received support in some conservative circles.  In the past, there have been viable third candidates on the Louisiana ballot.  And although there are nine this year, the ballot has had more than three candidates in the past.  Usually, they make very little difference because the winner wins by more than 50% and there is no need to have a runoff.  Assuming the other six candidates pull in about 1% of the total vote and Maness about 5%, there will be a runoff and Maness will be watching the results on December 6th.

But it becomes more interesting.  If a runoff is needed in Louisiana and there is no clear-cut control of the Senate as a result of the other races on November 4th, this runoff would likely be a no-holds-barred bloodbath.  That is why it is important that Cassidy gets more than 50% of the vote.  Nothing against Rob Maness, but he will be but a footnote in Louisiana’s political history when all is said and done.  But, it gets still more interesting because….

Should LSU be in the SEC championship game- a very good likelihood- that game will be held December 6th.  With low turnout, Cassidy would be favored.  If we truly want control of the Senate, then we should all be rooting for [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001075′ ] on November 4th and a poor showing for Maness.  Failing that that, we should be rooting for LSU.

With all this being said, it is prediction time: I think this is heading for a December 6th runoff with [mc_name name=’Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001075′ ] winning by about 3 points.

Next:  Arkansas