Skip to comments.Louisiana's John Kennedy Courts Black Voters with Anti-Chris John Calls
Posted on 10/15/2004 6:04:25 AM PDT by Theodore R.
Kennedy courts black voters with anti-John calls
By MARSHA SHULER email@example.com Capitol news bureau
Democratic state Treasurer John Kennedy became the focal point of the U.S. Senate campaign Thursday as he took to a new level an attack on two opponents, and one of them accused Kennedy of "race baiting." The racial accusation stems from automated calls going to African-American households linking Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris John to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
The solicitation promotes Kennedy as "the right choice" for black voters.
"He's trying to scare the African-American community. It's absolutely not true," John said. "That is just ugly. It's the worst form of politics."
John suggested it's Kennedy who has links to Duke.
John said Kennedy hired a top lieutenant of Duke and recruited Duke supporters when he ran one of former Republican Gov. Buddy Roemer's election campaigns.
Kennedy, who is heavily courting black voters, did not return numerous phone calls seeking comment.
The automated phone call flap came on the same day as:
Kennedy launched a statewide television campaign that hits John and Republican U.S. Rep. David Vitter for what Kennedy calls raiding the Social Security trust fund to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. Another ad criticizes President Bush for trying to eliminate overtime for millions of workers.
John got the endorsement of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and now has both Louisiana senators in his corner. The other is U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., who is retiring.
"In our fight for funding for education and funding for our coastline, I prefer to have somebody who doesn't need any one the job training," Landrieu said as she was traveling with John to a Shreveport appearance.
Vitter continued to complain about national Democratic interests running John's campaign. He also complained about $1 million in political advertising by the national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee "to try and deceive Louisiana about my record." John, Kennedy and Vitter are leading in voter polls as the Nov. 2 election approaches. The three are among seven candidates seeking the Senate seat being vacated by Breaux.
Vitter, the lone Republican, consistently gets the highest percentage of support in polls, and lately John has surpassed Kennedy for the No. 2 spot.
John said his moving up in the polls has a lot to do with the recent Kennedy attacks, which John described as "desperate."
Thirty percent of the state's voters are black, and their votes are key to whoever gets into a runoff with Vitter on Dec. 4. John, Kennedy and state Rep. Arthur Morrell, a former chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, are fighting for black voters.
John said Kennedy went over the line with the automated calls to black households.
The message, among other things, says John, when he was a state representative, voted to seat Duke in the Louisiana House, that he voted with Duke against affirmative action and that he had an "F" voting record on issues important to the NAACP.
"His record speaks for itself. We have a choice. John Kennedy is the right choice," the phone message goes on. "Chris John's record is black and white."
John voted with a majority of House members in 1989 to table, or kill, a motion to block Duke from taking a seat in the House. State election officials had declared Duke duly elected.
The most recent NAACP ranking shows John voted 55 percent of the time with the group, which is an "F" in its rating system.
Vitter and John have previously said Kennedy is misrepresenting the Social Security trust fund issue.
Chris John is being smeared on this claim. The House of Representatives in Baton Rouge had no alternative to seating anyone legitimately elected by voters. When the GA legislature tried to deny a seat to socialist Democrat Julian Bond in 1967, Bond went to the U.S. Surpemes and forced the Atlanta-based lawmakers to seat him.
This is just what we TRUE Louisiana Republicans have been waiting for. We all know that Vitter can't get 50% on Nov. 2nd. So this race is going to a run-off. The last two times Senate races have gone to arun-off in Louisiana, the Democrats united behind a single candidate (Sister Mary Landrieu) and there was really no infighting. However, this time, any hate and bad blood generated between John and Kennedy could result in lackluster turn-out by the losers supporters in the run-off election. This has always been David Vitters best hope. Because in this state, the run-off comes down to getting your people to the polls. And anything to keep some Democrats home is a good thing.
Hopefully Kennedy can surpass Chris John and take the second run-off spot (although I would obviously prefer Vitter to get 50% and forgo a run-off). My earlier hopes of Morrelll getting 20% and the second run-off spot have clearly been dashed---in fact, I would now prefer Morrell to drop out and endorse Kennedy. I think Vitter will defeat Kennedy in a December run-off, but am not all that optimistic against a race against Cajun Democrat Chris John in December. But perhaps Kennedy will soften up John enough in November so that Vitter can beat him in December.
I would hope that Vitter is advertising to blacks NOW (& for the last couple months) so that he has some basis for asking for their votes in there's a runoff.
"I would hope that Vitter is advertising to blacks NOW"