There hasn’t been a poll done in Louisiana for the Republican presidential primary in almost 5 months. That’s understandable considering we just elected a governor and right now the state is focused on the special session and budget crisis. But the Louisiana primary is on March 5th and early voting starts Saturday.
There is no objective way to measure how strong the campaigns are in the Bayou State. The best we can do is make an educated guess.
One tool to make that educated is the delegate slates of the upcoming Louisiana GOP Caucus on March 1. Unlike the caucus in previous years, this one will not allocate any delegates. The LAGOP scrapped the dual caucus/primary system after Ron Paul’s Louisiana campaign won the low turnout caucus but failed to win any delegates in the higher turnout primary. This led to the incident in 2012 where we had police called to the LAGOP Convention.
The 2016 version of the caucus will only decide who will actually represent which candidate in the convention. The primary alone will decide how many delegates each campaign will be awarded from Louisiana to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
The delegate slates are a good judge to determine which candidates are strong in which parts of the state. Here’s what we can gather so far:
- Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are strong statewide. Trump either had or tied for the largest delegate slate in every Congressional District.
- Trump is strong everywhere in the state. Among the prominent Trump backers are former State Rep. John LaBruzzo, Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer, lobbyist Brian Trascher, political consultant and friend of this site Jennifer Madsen, But, Trump’s support is mostly coming from the small business community.
- Cruz’s strongholds are going to be metro New Orleans and Baton Rouge and around the Shreveport area. He has pulled in a lot of the conservative activists such as Mike Bayham (who contributes here) and former national Young Republican chair Audra Shay. Among the other higher profile Cruz potential delegates are former State Senate candidate Derek Babcock, BESE member Kathy Edmonston, and LAGOP Vice Chairman Charlie Buckels.
- Marco Rubio’s strongholds are going to be the Monroe and Alexandria area. Among his delegates are Keith Leger, who was the campaign chairman for Holly Boffy’s successful BESE reelection campaign; former BESE candidate Jason Engen, Lionel Rainey III who is the spokesman for St. George, Covington City Councilman Mark Wright, former State Senate candidate Stewart Cathey, former New Orleans City Councilman Bryan Wagner, and activists such as Stephanie Berault and the former head of the St. Tammany Parish Alliance for Good Government, John Wells.
- John Kasich is pretty strong in metro New Orleans. Among his backers are 22nd Judicial District (St. Tammany and Washington Parishes) DA Warren Montgomery, Evans Spiceland who is the co-founder of the Northshore Tea Party, State Senator Norby Chabert, The Hayride’s attorney Scott Sternberg, attorney and pro-Airbnb activist Bob Ellis, former Congressman Jim McCrery, and attorney and Republican activist Stephen Gele.
- Ben Carson filed a complete delegate slate in only two Congressional Districts, CD 4 (Northwest Louisiana) and CD 6 (metro Baton Rouge).
- Jeb Bush has delegate slates in all 6 Congressional districts but no real stronghold anywhere.
While this does not take into account the ground games of each campaign and how the race will look after South Carolina, this gives us an idea of what we’re looking at. On the surface, Louisiana will be a Trump-Cruz battle but Rubio and Kasich will both play a role in deciding who wins.
It’s probably too early to project who will win the state without some polling, but it’s clear which campaigns have a strong presence in Louisiana which ones don’t.