In case you haven’t heard, the leader in every poll for the Treasurer’s race this fall is a Democrat – despite the fact the three “major” candidates in the race are Republicans. Derrick Edwards, a lawyer from New Orleans whose interesting physical condition – he’s a quadriplegic – is a frequent candidate for office who ran last year for the Senate, polling three percent of the vote in the primary and finishing in eighth place. Now he’s in first place and a fairly likely participant in the runoff; what we don’t know at this point is whether it will be Rep. John Schroder, Sen. Neil Riser or former Jindal administration Commissioner of Administration Angele Davis who’ll be in the final round with him.
Almost everybody who knows something about that race will tell you once Edwards gets into the runoff with whichever Republican joins him, he’s got zero chance to win. But in that respect he’s no different than Foster Campbell in the 2016 Senate race, or Kip Holden in the 2015 Lt. Governor’s race, or even Edwin Edwards in the 2014 6th District congressional race. They all got slaughtered in the runoff and the Democrats knew it, and backed them anyway.
But the Democrats aren’t backing Edwards in this race even though he’s leading every poll with at least 25 percent of the vote.
…(T)he Democratic Party’s executive committee worries about how Edwards would get from 30 percent of the vote to the 50 percent plus one needed to win a runoff from an electorate who overwhelming backs Republicans in most statewide elections.
Though Edwards was the first announced candidate in the race, he hasn’t been campaigning much. He reported $138.20 available in a campaign finance report filed Aug. 8. Plus, because he was late filing, Edwards could face $2,000 in fines from the Louisiana Board of Ethics.
“We were uncomfortable with the fact that he was a little late, at that time, filing his financial disclosure and campaign finance forms,” said Kyle Green Jr., a state party executive committee member from Marrero. “We urged him to get his house in order and once he did that, we would be happy to revisit that decision.”
The 25-member party executive committee decided to hold off until Edwards could name a campaign team, detail fundraising plans, and identify major supporters.
“The executive committee felt rather strongly that Mr. Edwards needs to do some basic things before recommending him for a party endorsement,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party.
One wonders if this is a racial thing, which you’d think shouldn’t be a problem for a party who would have virtually zero political presence in Louisiana but for black voters and black elected officials. Still, the Democrats have a history of failing to give much help to black candidates for statewide office – they let Cleo Fields and Bill Jefferson die on the vine in the 1995 and 1999 runoffs, and they did exactly nothing to help Holden last year.
With a black state senator in Karen Carter Peterson, who as it happens is also from New Orleans, as the Democrat party chair, you’d think this lack of support wouldn’t continue.
But it does. They’re going to let the only Democrat candidate they have in the only statewide race going on this year go without any money or an endorsement? And he’s not only a candidate of color but a disabled candidate as well?
How can this be? How can a party which breaks its arm patting itself on the back for how much it supposedly cares about minorities and people with disabilities simply let Derrick Edwards die on the political vine?
Sure, Edwards has no shot to win. Foster Campbell had no shot to win. That didn’t stop them from pitching in and raising every dime they could for him. And if he has no shot to win and can’t do all the basic things a candidate needs to do to have a shot to win, then why in the hell couldn’t the Louisiana Democrat Party recruit somebody more legitimate to run in an open seat?
None of their grandees, like for example Rep. Walt Leger or Sen. Eric Lafleur, bothered to qualify. This guy did, and he put a D next to his name. And they’re snubbing him anyway. No union money, no party money, not even a little check from one of their trial lawyer donors to get him started.
It’s embarrassing. This is not a party that deserves to win a major election in this state, ever again.