Sunday, May 04, 2008

Electoral upset in Louisiana - Another bad omen for the Republicans?

Eric Kleefeld of Talking Points Memo reports:
In a further indication that the Democrats are well-positioned to expand their House majority this November, Democrat Don Cazayoux has won a special election tonight for a Louisiana seat that has been in Republican hands for over 30 years. [....]

In a district that voted 59% for President Bush in 2004, that is simply a stunning result.

This is on top of another big Democratic pick-up two months ago, when Bill Foster (D-IL) won the suburban Illinois seat of former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert.
I guess it's possible that this result was a fluke, with purely local causes and local significance. Or more likely, as Kleefeld suggests, it may be one more sign that the Republicans are probably headed for catastrophe in the November 2008 Congressional elections. That outcome has long seemed plausible--for reasons that were cogently summed up in January by none other than George Will--and further omens pointing toward a Republican debacle this fall continue to accumulate.

(My guess is that this will include the Presidential election, too, whatever the polls say right now.)

Of course, when it comes to elections, anything can happen in 6 months (yes, believe it or not, there are still 6 months to go) ... so let's hope for the best.

--Jeff Weintraub

P.S. For one anti-Cazayoux ad run by the National Republican Congressional Committee, see this VIDEO. What's interesting about this ad is that the main targets are Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Cazayoux plays only a brief and secondary part toward the end.

Update (5/5/2008): My friend Rick Weil, a heavyweight political sociologist who has been at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge since 1987, and who therefore counts as an expert local informant, has now been good enough to fill in some of the background.
This is my district. The local bit is that Cazayoux is a very conservative Democrat, de-emphasized party, identified himself with John Breaux; while Woody Jenkins is a well-known ultra-conservative, who bought David Duke’s (KKK) mailing list & used to give speeches on the statehouse floor with a plastic fetus in a jar (anti-abortion). This district contains the state capital, LSU, & a growing medical & tech sector. There’s still a fair amount of back-woods, but Jenkins would have made lots of people feel like a laughing stock; plus he failed to paint Cazayoux as a liberal. A more centrist Republican might have won. Also, the black Democrats are angry because Cazayoux beat their guy in the primary, & they may split the Dem vote in November, when the seat has to be run again.
The conclusions I would draw are that (a) the Democrats do have some cause for satisfaction about this election result, but (b) they shouldn't get too carried away.
==============================
TPM Election Central
May 3, 2008
Dems Capture Long-Held GOP House Seat In Louisiana
By Eric Kleefeld

In a further indication that the Democrats are well-positioned to expand their House majority this November, Democrat Don Cazayoux has won a special election tonight for a Louisiana seat that has been in Republican hands for over 30 years.

With 99% of precincts reporting, Cazayoux leads with 49,371 votes, or 49% of the vote, followed by Republican Woody Jenkins at 46,554 votes, or 46%. In a district that voted 59% for President Bush in 2004, that is simply a stunning result.

This is on top of another big Democratic pick-up two months ago, when Bill Foster (D-IL) won the suburban Illinois seat of former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert.

In short, this year isn't going very well so far for the NRCC.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home