As we shift into election mode here at the Hayride, we’ll be watching several legislative races in which a long-time Democrat seat might be threatened by what looks like a strong conservative tide this fall.
One such race is in House District 42, where Democrat Jack Montoucet was elected over Republican Isabella delaHoussaye in 2007 after former Democrat incumbent Gil Penac was term limited. Montoucet, who owns an alligator farm and has billed himself as a pro-business, centrist Democrat, carried the District by a 58-42 count four years ago. Last year Montoucet’s voting record adhered somewhat to his self-characterization; LABI rated him an 88 percent vote on pro-business legislation, though his record since taking office in 2008 was only 63 percent. No numbers have been compiled to date on the recently-completed session, though Montoucet was opposed to the SUNO-UNO merger and voted against a bill by Rep. Kirk Talbot which would have allowed for tax writeoffs for companies who funded school scholarships, among other stances he’ll be criticized for.
But this is a district which is moving quickly to the right. Since Montoucet’s election, voters in District 42 went 67-31 for John McCain over Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and in last fall’s statewide elections they gave David Vitter (62-32) and Jay Dardenne (57-43) wide margins over their Democrat opponents. It’s a district which is about 80 percent white and 20 percent black, and those districts have been moving away from the old Bourbon Democrat mindset which used to hold most of the state.
And now, Montoucet’s Republican challenger Anthony Emmons is touting the results of a poll by our friend John Couvillon at JMC Enterprises which has him breathing down Montoucet’s neck.
The poll gathered responses from 484 “likely voters” in District 42, with the results showing incumbent Democrat Jack Montoucet leading with 35%, Republican Anthony Emmons trailing with 30%, and another 35% currently undecided.
“Our campaign is encouraged by these results,” Emmons stated. “We are several months away from Election Day, with our campaign really just getting started. As we introduce ourselves to more people in the district, support should increase.”
Emmons, who is in industrial sales and has been a Republican activist for some time, is pushing a Tea Party conservative platform – low taxes, spending cuts and smaller government. He has never run for political office and his name recognition isn’t all that high at present.
But with only a 35-30 deficit to make up, and a sizable 35 percent undecided, that’s lousy news for Montoucet. It’s evidence he’s in trouble, as are many other white Democrat incumbents throughout the state.