Skip to comments.Louisiana Could Decide Leadership in U.S. Senate
Posted on 10/28/2004 6:22:18 AM PDT by Theodore R.
State could decide leadership in Senate
By GERARD SHIELDS email@example.com Advocate Washington bureau
It's still a big "if," but Louisiana voters could decide who runs the U.S. Senate for the next two years. Due to the state's unique runoff election system, the eyes of the nation could well be focused on the Pelican State and its politics beginning Wednesday.
If no U.S. Senate candidate gains 50 percent plus one vote in Tuesday's general election, the top two vote-getters will compete in a Dec. 4 runoff.
Because all the other 33 Senate elections will be decided next week, the Louisiana race could decide which party controls the chamber.
Currently, the Senate has 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one independent who votes with the Democrats. The party with the most senators runs the upper chamber of Congress.
"It could easily be the race that sways the balance of the Senate," Forrest Maltzman, a congressional scholar at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said of the Louisiana race.
"If it is, you'll see a lot of people campaigning in Louisiana," he said.
Voters supported President Bush four years ago in all of the eight states considered to have close Senate races, including Louisiana. Experts have placed those states in the Bush column this year as well.
Four of the races are in the South, where longtime Democrats such as U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., are retiring. Republicans such as U.S. Rep. David Vitter, R-Metairie, are hoping to put the seats into GOP control.
Vitter faces three Democrats, U.S. Rep. Chris John, D-Crowley, state Treasurer John Kennedy and state Rep. Arthur Morrell, D-New Orleans.
"The next Senate is going to be very close, a one- or two-vote margin on who controls," Breaux said.
Because much of the Senate action is taking place in pro-Bush states, some analysts contend that the Republicans will maintain Senate control, making Louisiana's runoff election crucial.
"If I were a betting man, I would say the Republicans will control the Senate without Louisiana," said John Hibbing, a political scientist from the University of Nebraska.
But just the thought of a late Senate runoff in Louisiana deciding the fate of the Senate has political junkies salivating, including Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
"The attack ads would be all over the air, the hotels will be filled with the national press corps and the volunteers would be banging on the doors," Hess said.
Republicans invaded the state two years ago to aid Suzie Terrell in her unsuccessful race against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
But Republican spokesman Dan Allen said he is confident Vitter won't need the outside help this time around if a runoff is required.
Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., said he would not be surprised if Senate control comes down to Louisiana.
"We may be hanging until December," Ornstein said. "There is a chance that Louisiana could make the difference. It wouldn't matter as much if you didn't have such a closely divided Senate."
Jennifer Duffy tracks Senate races for The Cook Political Report in Washington. Duffy also contends Louisiana could be the swing state for Senate control.
"Sure, it's possible," Duffy said. "Don't write that off."
Duffy handicapped the remaining seven Senate races considered close. Three of the seats are held by Republicans, four by Democrats:
Alaska: Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski faces former two-term Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles. A tossup.
Colorado: Democratic state Attorney General Ken Salazar and Republican Pete Coors battle for an open seat. Slight edge to the Democrat.
Florida: Democrat Betty Castor, former state education commissioner, opposes Republican Mel Martinez, former secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development, for an open seat. A tossup.
North Carolina: Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, is in a campaign with Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Burr for John Edwards open seat. Edge to the Republican.
Oklahoma: Former Republican Congressman Tom Coburn is battling Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Carson for an open seat. Slight edge to the Republican.
South Carolina: Republican Congressman Jim DeMint faces Democratic state education superintendent Inez Tenenbaum for an open seat. Slight edge, Republican.
South Dakota: In the most-watched race in the country, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is locked in a tough challenge from former Republican U.S. Rep. John Thune. A tossup.
We'll do our part! And it would be sweet if Daschle were replaced, too.
A "COORS" loss in Colorado? Is nothing sacred anymore?
There is no leadership in the senate at least on our side.
Zogby and Rasmussen both have Thune up by +3. I can't wait to see Daschle go down.
Coors will win. He has a monumental get out the vote process that won him the primary by a huge margin.
I'm hearing Vitter is well within striking distance of getting 50%+1 and will not need to go to the runoff.
Washington Democrats have been pouring money into the state to spread lies about Vitter to prevent this from happening. However, everytime they launch a smear campaign Vitter's numbers go up.
People down here do not take too kindly to Washington outsiders meddling in our politics. You would think Dems would have learned their lesson from the Republicans when they poured money in against Landreau... Then again, no one ever accused Dems of being bright.
One could persuasively argue that in reality Tom Daschle remains the "majority leader" of the Senate because of his 48 Democrats, Jeffords, and four or five other GOP liberals that go Democrat more than Republican.
I'm in Louisiana. A few days ago, I got a phone call, posing as a poll, that was paid for by the DNC. They started out asking a couple of questions, then switched to bashing Bush, then threw in a pitch for Dem Congressional candidate Willie Mount and bashed her opponent, Dr. Charles Boustany.
ArmedNReady? What part are you in? I'm in the First Congressional District (suburban New Orleans). We're going to elected Bobby Jindal with about 80% of the vote. The dems nominated some airbag as a sacrificial lamb. I dont even know who his opponent is. :)
Coors will probably win, Bush may get pasted there with the whole proportional distribution of electoral votes being counted immediately (if the amendment passes there), but I for one expect Coors to win, because that state simply is not very good about electing Dems to statewide office. Plus with 11th hour campaigning there can effect a sudden swing. Also the edge that Salazar has is still inside the margin of error.
My money is on Mel in FL, simply because of name recognition and being a Cuban American. Miami-Dade may be heavily Democrat, but it's also got a significant Cuban-American population, which votes almost exclusively Republican, the area is big enough that it could influence an otherwise close race statewide, and Florida, unlike Louisiana, does often cross party lines in the same given election, so even if Bush lost the Sunshine State Mel is still a likely winner, and Florida also is a state that prefers having one Senator of one party and the other of the other party, as past elections have trended (2000 for Nelson notwithstanding, but this is an open race.
Erskine Bowles could not eek out a win against Libby Dole in 02, who is very controversial, so I doubt he'll beat Burr, plus North Carolina is one of those states that the seat often shifts parties from one election to the next, (hence Lauch Faircloth losing to Edwards in 98). Tarheels simply don't like losers.
South Carolina will elect a Republican to fill the seat vacated by Foghorn Leghorn, err, Fritz Hollings. There has been too much anger among Republicans there against the Confederate flag coming down, and voters in the Palmetto state don't easily forget
South Dakota is another state that we'll have to fight for. All things fair and right, Dasshole is finished. But as we all know with the Democrats, they don't do anything fair, and right... There will likely need to be major vote challenging on the reservations to make sure that vote fraud is, if not totally bottled, kept in check so that the 15,000 natives with 50,000 votes (or more) don't force another six years of Dasshole down the throats of the other 600,000 South Dakotans...
I'm in Lafayette. Bobby Jindal is a great guy and has potential for much higher office. I expect to see him running for national office within the next 8-12 years. Jindal has an almost unhuman ability to analyze data or a situation then make the right decision based on his analysis. IMHO, the only thing good that came out of "Republican" Governor Fosters time in office was the discovery of Bobby Jindal. Sadly, when Jindal was running for governor, many people who I talked to said they would not vote for Jindal "because he isn't white."
I hope Vitter gets over 50% so he avoids a runoff. The Dems have an amazing ability to resurect Dem voters in large cities like N.O. It looks like Chris John is running scared at this point. It's hard to say how the vote will go in this area. Many voters here make their decision based on where the candidate calls home. If OBL was born in Crowley, he could probably get a seat in Congress.
Dems and Repubs are campaigning against the electoral college initiative in CO.
"The Dem governot of La, as her first act of Gubernorship, re-instated a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists."
I thought her first act was to have that self-serving media event "vigil" (sic) on the steps of the capital for families that lost children. What a clown.
It was a great loss when Jindal was defeated. I hope he becomes Governor.
Bobby should have won that race... It was the racist hilly-billy KKK'ers that pervented him from being governor, and instead we're stuck with the incompetent Blanco.
Jindal might not have been white, but I thought that the KKK in Louisiana was pretty much wedded to the Pelican State GOP (Duke, et al.).
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