Skip to comments.Louisiana hopefuls' day arrives - Parties to monitor turnout today in tight runoff for Senate seat
Posted on 12/07/2002 3:06:01 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
Louisiana hopefuls' day arrives
Parties to monitor turnout today in tight runoff for Senate seat
While Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Suzanne Haik Terrell made final campaign sweeps across Louisiana, supporters continued to work hard to nudge voters to the polls for Saturday's runoff.
The latest statewide poll, issued Wednesday by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research of Columbia, Md., showed the race too close to call.
During final campaign appearances Friday, Ms. Terrell - the state elections commissioner - urged supporters to get others to go to the polls.
"I am asking you to spend the next 36 hours calling friends and family and getting out the vote," she said during a rally at the Lake Charles airport.
Several hours later, during a rally at the Port of Lake Charles, Ms. Landrieu touted her experience, while Sen. John Breaux, D-La., repeated a campaign theme that Ms. Landrieu's Senate committee seniority was too much for the state to risk losing.
Ms. Landrieu also criticized Ms. Terrell for relying on out-of-state Republicans - including the president - to tout the challenger.
"My best relationship is with Louisiana elected officials," she said.
Ms. Landrieu, first elected in a close 1996 runoff and the daughter of former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, finished well ahead of the field on Nov. 5 with 46 percent of the vote. Ms. Terrell won 27 percent but had to contend with two other well-known Republicans.
Control of the Senate moved to the GOP after Nov. 5 elections around the nation, but Republicans want the additional seat that Ms. Terrell's victory would bring.
Behind the campaign scenes, both sides were pulling out all the stops in an attempt to make sure that no vote is left unsolicited.
Telephone banks have been humming for days, some with recorded calls from national political celebrities.
While Ms. Terrell enjoyed well-publicized boosts from the president and his father, former President George Bush, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been quietly flooding the state to energize carefully targeted groups of likely Landrieu voters.
Analysts have said that a strong black voter turnout is needed for Ms. Landrieu to win a second term. The Mason-Dixon poll showed nine of 10 black voters were for Ms. Landrieu in the primary.
The Republicans are using the "72-hour task force" that proved successful in last month's elections, a strategy used by Democrats and organized labor in the 1990s to overtake Republican candidates who had a slight lead just before the balloting.
The plan puts a premium on likely supporters with specific themes and maintains regular contact until the person votes or the polls close. The names of likely voters are gleaned from membership lists provided by groups such as churches, anti-abortion organizations and gun-rights activists.
The GOP has targeted hunters with direct mail that touts Ms. Terrell's commitment to the right to bear arms and automated telephone messages from Vice President Dick Cheney, an avid outdoorsman. Also, hunters were urged to cast absentee ballots for fear that a clear, cool morning could lure many into the woods Saturday.
Barbara Bush recorded a phone message for senior citizens, and Bob Dole was used to appeal to veterans.
Democrats also directed their messages to target constituents.
The Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators, with a combined total of 37,000 members, have been contacting their memberships. Trade union locals are calling members to go to the polls before going hunting.
Some black leaders are worried about enthusiasm in their communities. State Sen. Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge, whose endorsement of Ms. Landrieu two weeks ago was considered critical, said he is optimistic of a victory but does not have a good feel for how many voters will turn out.
"I don't see the fire I was hoping to see by now," Mr. Fields said.
Get-out-the-vote efforts were expected to continue Saturday.
Democrats will track turnout at the polls at noon. If the turnout in a key stronghold is low, the party will aim its phone banks at that area during the afternoon. Another check on turnout will occur about 4 p.m., said Jim Nickel, former chairman of the state Democratic Party.
Republicans have lists of expected voters and will check off names as they show up at the polls. If expected voters don't show up, some will receive a knock on the door, party officials said.
Ms. Landrieu also criticized Ms. Terrell for relying on out-of-state Republicans including the president to tout the challenger.
It seems to me that Ron Kirk, the 'RAT loser in the Texas Senate race said the same thing, hmmmm?....
Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my Louisiana ping list!. . .don't be shy.
Then why have Greg Tarver and Don Cravins both refused to endorse, or campaign for her?
Pray some, call some.
Much of my moms family is in the Lafayette area and because of that and working in the oilfield, I know the area well. I've been supplied with a list of likely voters / hunters in that area and I've been calling them from Houston since last night.
Thank goodness for free long distance/weekend minutes on my cell phone!! ;-)
This may be a good place to watch the results. Louisiana Secretary of State--Multi-Parish Elections Inquiry