The Election Liveblog – UPDATED, FINAL

UPDATE, 11:45 p.m. – We’re not going to go through all of the House races, but here are some highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be)…

Barbara Norton, the Democrat incumbent in District 3 known for a string of goofy and moronic actions like when she invited her godson “Hurricane Chris” to the House floor in 2009 to perform a non-obscene version of his rap song “Halle Berry,” will be in a runoff with fellow Dem Lynn Cawthorne. Norton only got 44.7 percent of the vote; Cawthorne pulled 26.9.

Businessman Jeff Thompson, seen by some as a rising star in the conservative movement, beat fellow Republican Duke Lowrie 57-43 in District 8.

Republican Billy Chandler, who switched from the Democrats earlier this year, is in a runoff with independent Terry Brown (33 percent) in District 22. Chandler only pulled 40 percent, but third-place finisher Tim Murphy had 26 percent. The guess here is that Chandler will get more than 10 of that 26 in the runoff, but it’s too soon to say for sure.

Republican Rick Nowlin is in a runoff with Democrat Kenny Cox in District 23 after Nowlin led 43.6 to 42.4 in tonight’s primary. If Nowlin is able to win he’ll be a white Republican representing a majority-black district; an incumbent, Nowlin was hammered hard in redistricting – but he looks to have developed an appeal in the district and the word is that third-place finisher Ralph Wilson might throw his support to Nowlin. We’ll have more on that next week.

Lance Harris beat Barret Byrd in a battle of Republicans in District 25, 55-45.

District 42 was a disaster for the state GOP, the Tea Party and LCRM. Anthony Emmons, considered a rising star, found himself on the short end of a 63-37 defeat at the hands of Democrat Jack Montoucet in a head-scratcher.

But the author of a spate of horrible bills might be on his way out in District 44. Rickey Hardy pulled just 42.5 percent against a pair of opponents, with Vincent Pierre getting 40.3. Those two will meet in a runoff. We’re for Pierre. Hardy’s incessant attempts to make criminals out of everybody in Louisiana with bills like the one he got passed this year making it illegal for junk dealers to deal in cash can’t be tolerated. 

Interestingly, though Gary Smith dashed GOP hopes by trashing Garrett Monti in Senate 19, Smith’s district in the House (District 56) looks like it’s going Republican. Greg Miller got 49.6 percent, just shy of a majority, and will be a sizable favorite over Democrat Ram Ramachandran (39.2). The third-place finisher, Emile Garlepied, is also a Republican.

In District 63 there were hopes that Barbara Thomas might pull an upset and deliver a black Republican to the House. Thomas got just 20 percent, though, as Democrat Dalton Honore (61.1) walked away with an easy win.

In District 64 Valarie Hodges clobbered Barry Elkins in a battle of Republicans, 69-31.

Incumbent Pat Smith bombed fellow Democrat Lori Burgess 61-39 in a battle of awful Democrats in District 67.

In District 94, Nick Lorusso took out John LaBruzzo in a matchup of incumbent Republicans, 57-43. LaBruzzo, a controversial figure for his push to drug-test welfare recipients, had scored some lousy press in a New Orleans Gambit piece a couple of weeks ago accusing him of living out of his campaign account. That race also was significant in that Vitter backed Lorusso, while Rep. Steve Scalise supported LaBruzzo.

Another hopeful for a black Republican getting elected was Harold Williams, but the long-time head of the GOP in East Baton Rouge Parish missed the runoff in District 101. There are likely going to be some nasty recriminations from this race, as Williams was opposed by two other black Republicans – Sarah Holliday and Tiffany Foxworth. Foxworth switched parties and qualified as a Democrat, pulling 27.3 percent in a six-person race. Williams only polled 17.2 percent and Holliday 12.2. Democrat Ted James led the field with 29.3. Had the field been cleared for Williams he would have been in the runoff and perhaps a statewide cause celebre; instead, the race will be an all-Dem affair.

And in District 103, Republican Ray Garofalo (31.5 percent) will take on Democrat Chris Lauro (27). Third-place finisher Mike Bayham (24 percent) was the victim of a brutal mail piece put out by Garofalo accusing him of being single, living with his mother and earning a living off the public dole; none of which are particularly fair allegations. But Garofalo had $200,000 to spend and Bayham didn’t, which meant the leader in the race was able to get the opponent he wanted in the runoff.

UPDATE, 11:10 p.m. – The BESE races, unlike some of the legislative races, turned out really well for the conservative reform crowd.

In District 1, Jim Garvey got 59 percent of the vote in a major blowout. We had discussed his race at length earlier this week.

District 2 will see a runoff, as expected, but incumbent Louella Givens only pulled 29.7 percent against challenger Kira Orange Jones’ 39.4. Both are Democrats, but Orange Jones is a Teach For America advocate and a champion of charters and school choice and it’s expected she’ll win handily in the runoff.

In District 3, incumbent Glenny Lee Buquet, who is an enemy of the state’s education establishment but had to be talked into running for re-election by Gov. Bobby Jindal, got plastered by Republican Lottie Beebe, the establishment’s candidate, 56-44. These things don’t always go by party.

But in a major victory for the reform crowd, Ruston engineer Jay Guillot wiped the floor with Democrat incumbent Keith Guice in District 5. Guillot pulled 54.6 percent of the vote in sending Guice, the establishment’s candidate, to the showers.

BESE District 6 will be the highest-profile of the state’s runoff elections, as incumbent Chas Roemer, the most outspoken champion of education reform in the state, only managed 44.7 percent against two opponents. Roemer will face Democrat Donald Songy, who edged out Republican Beth Meyers 28.7 to 26.6 for second place.

District 7 was a blowout for the reform crowd, though, as Holly Boffy – the 2010 Louisiana Teacher of the Year – skunked Dale Bayard 67-33.

The reform candidate in District 8 led the field as well, as Democrat Carolyn Hill pulled 29.5 percent of the vote. Independent Jim Guillory will be in the runoff after pulling 28.5 percent.

On the whole, if the leaders in the primary races win in the runoffs the BESE races are an earthquake. Jindal needed eight seats to get his choice for education superintendent confirmed (three of the 11 BESE seats are appointed by the governor, the other eight are elected); if Hill and Roemer win Jindal will have nine. And Louisiana could well end up on the cutting edge of market-based educational reform.

UPDATE, 10:45 p.m. – Some updated numbers on senate races…

A.G. Crowe beat Nita Hutter in District 1, 69-31 in a battle of Republicans.

Two Democrats, Troy Brown and Elton Aubert, will be in a runoff in District 2. Brown led the primary 34-31 with all the districts in.

In a battle of New Orleans Democrat incumbents, J.P. Morrell wiped out Cynthia Willard-Lewis in District 3, 56-44. That’s with 95 of 111 precincts in.

The Baton Rouge-area District 6 is a close race, but with 81 of 83 precincts in Mack “Bodi” White leads Mike Mannino by a 51.6 to 48.4 count in a battle of Republicans.

Incumbent Jack Donahue bombed challenger Gary Leonard 81-19 in a battle of Republicans in District 11.

In District 13, incumbent Dale Erdey crushed rookie challenger Derek Babcock 65-35 despite the latter getting a lot of support from business groups and the Tea Party of Louisiana.

District 17, the Livonia-Maringouin-West Baton Rouge-LSU district being vacated by Democrat almost-candidate for governor Rob Marionneaux, was won by Rick Ward, Marionneaux’s hand-picked successor. Ward got 69 percent of the vote.

The final tally in District 19: Smith 59.5, Monti 40.5. St. Charles Parish still appears to be happy hunting grounds for old-time white Democrats.

In District 21, Bret Allain beat Darrin Guidry 51.4-48.6 in a battle of Republicans.

There will be a runoff in District 24 between Democrats Elbert Guillory (46.4 percent) and Donald Cravins (40.7 percent). Guillory, the incumbent, is considered to be the closest thing to a black Republican in public office in Louisiana, though he probably can’t switch parties.

In District 28, Eric Lafleur beat Doc Miller 59-41. That was a race the state GOP was hoping to win.

Democrat Rick Gallot moves from the House to the Senate after pulling just over 50 percent in District 29. He’ll be a pain in the ass in the Senate as he bucks for higher office over the next four years.

We’ll see a runoff between John Smith (45 percent) and James David Cain (29 percent) in District 30. Both are Republicans, though Smith is a recent party-switcher. Cain, who infuriated the Jindal camp to such an extent that the governor was running ads against him, switched a few years ago. Alario might be an issue in this race; Cain has publicly pledged not to support him while Smith is considered an Alario ally.

Incumbent Bob Kostelka beat fellow Republican Jeff Guerrerio 52-48 in District 35.

In what is a pretty sizable surprise, Republican Barrow Peacock beat Republican Jane Smith 55-45 in District 37. Smith, who was trying to move up from the House, had been the favorite. Peacock had a lot of self-funding and used it well.

Tea Party-supported Republican Troy Terrell fell far short in his challenge of moderate Republican incumbent Sherri Smith Cheek, as the latter took the District 38 race 57-43.

In District 39, there will be a runoff between Democrats Lydia Jackson and Gregory Tarver.


UPDATE, 10:35 p.m. – One happy camper tonight is political consultant Jason Hebert, who had a prominent role in the Dardenne, Schedler and Strain campaigns. He’s three for three in the big races he worked on from what it looks like.

Also, possibly the worst senator in the state, Yvonne Dorsey, just blew out Michael Jackson 58-28 in District 14. Dorsey stinks on ice and she’s a crook. She won big anyway.

And with all the vote counted, Beth Mizell lost to Ben Nevers – by 400 votes. So the state GOP got the 24 seats they knew they’d get and didn’t pick up any more than that. They’re two votes short of a supermajority and it’s going to be very, VERY difficult to keep John Alario from getting the Senate presidency unless Jindal puts a stop to it.

Louisiana politics has definitely changed. But it hasn’t completely changed. That seems to be the theme tonight. 

UPDATE, 10:30 p.m. – Channel 9 in Baton Rouge just called the race for Dardenne.

Also, Schedler leads Tucker by 12,000 votes with 97 percent of the precincts in.

UPDATE, 10:20 p.m. – The Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority is claiming a few wins tonight, though most of them were shoo-ins. State representatives Frank Hoffman, Steve Pugh, Greg Cromer and Tim Burns, who had been supported by LCRM and personally endorsed by Sen. David Vitter, all won easily. And Republican Johnny Berthelot, who Vitter also supported, won in House District 88.

UPDATE, 10:14 p.m. – Of course, this is more or less impossible to do since the election results from the Secretary of State’s office won’t load. So we’re almost back to pre-internet days trying to pull this off.

Billy Nungesser was just on Channel 9 in Baton Rouge saying he feels good about his chances because New Orleans and the coastal parishes aren’t in yet. He’s losing 53-47 (down about 50,000 votes) with 77 percent of the returns in, which is pretty much over.

We’ll have lots to say about the way the Lt. Governor’s campaign has played out tomorrow.

UPDATE, 9:56 p.m. – The Times-Picayune has called the races for governor, insurance commissioner and agriculture commissioner.

Dardenne still leads, 53-47 on Nungesser. Schedler leads Tucker 51-49. Both of those with 3246 of 4258 precincts in.

Several legislative races are in, and so far they really don’t look all that good for the conservative/reform/tea party crowd.

The bitterest pill? Senate District 19, in which Garrett Monti is getting skunked by Rep. Gary Smith 61-39 with 86 of 102 precincts in.

But Beth Mizell, with 77 of 101 precincts in, has a 53-47 lead over Democrat incumbent Ben Nevers.

We’re a little late to this party thanks to a computer crash, which basically destroyed the plan for tonight and took yours truly offline pretty much all day. So to catch up we’re going to be Funless Election Night Computer Dorks rather than press the flesh at somebody’s victory party.

In any event, the early statewide returns (as of 9:20 p.m., with 1365 of 4258 precincts reporting)…

  • The Governor’s  race is every bit the joke everybody thought it would be. Bobby Jindal is cruising to re-election with 68 percent of the vote. Tara Hollis has 16 percent. Nobody else has three percent.
  • Jay Dardenne leads Billy Nungesser 54-46 so far in the Lt. Governor’s race, which is about where we expect it to finish.
  • Secretary of State: Tom Schedler 51.77, Jim Tucker 48.23. Better numbers for Schedler than expected so far, but this one will be a nailbiter.
  • Mike Strain is up 69-25 on Jamie LaBranche in the Ag Commish race. We had a commenter in one of our stories on the race last weekend who claimed LaBranche was polling close to or ahead of Strain; whoever that guy was he was living in fantasyland.
  • Likewise, Jim Donelon is wiping the floor with Donald Hodge in the Insurance Commish race. Donelon has 69.6 percent, Hodge 30.4.

More as the results come in, plus in our next update we’ll have some of the legislative races.



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