The Louisiana Republican presidential primary is Saturday. Republican voters will go out and cast their ballots for president. In 2012; 186, 410 or 24% of all Republicans cast their ballots to in the Louisiana primary. Suffice to say turnout is expected to be much higher.
A couple of reasons why turnout is going to be higher than 2012. The first is that Donald Trump is bringing new Republican primary voters out, both for and against him. The second is that Louisiana will actually matter now because the date of the contest was moved up from late March to early March, which was an attempt to help Bobby Jindal.
There will be some parishes (and rough geographical descriptions of them for our out of state readers) to keep an eye on as the numbers come in:
St. Tammany Parish: St. Tammany Parish, a suburban parish which is located on the north shore of Lake Ponchatrain across from New Orleans on the Mississippi border, provided nearly 10% of the total Republican primary vote in 2012. It’s also a bellwether of how the results will look statewide. There are all types of Republicans in the parish from country club types to more populist Tea Party types to religious conservatives. Ted Cruz is having his final Louisiana rally in Mandeville on Friday, which is located in this parish. That’s how important St. Tammany is.
Jefferson Parish: The other large New Orleans suburban parish, which is also Louisiana’s most populous parish, is west of the city. This is the home parish of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his home to both the most conservative Republicans and the most establishment oriented Republicans in Louisiana. Jefferson Parish politics are more machine driven than much of the rest of Louisiana and Trump has made in roads here. If Trump is going to have a strong performance, Jefferson Parish is one of those parishes he has to do well in.
Orleans Parish: While no one would consider the city of New Orleans a Republican stronghold, the city still needs to have an eye kept on it. The Republicans here are more establishment oriented than the rest of the state. If Marco Rubio, or John Kasich, are going to have a decent night, we’ll first see signs of it in Orleans Parish. If Orleans overwhelmingly breaks for Rubio, he has a chance.
Ascension Parish: The Baton Rouge suburban parish is southwest of the city. It’s also one of the Republican strongholds in the Baton Rouge is also a possible bellwether for much of the same reasons St. Tammany is. The only difference is that Ascension will only provide a third of the votes St. Tammany does.
Livingston Parish: The Baton Rouge suburb is east of the city and is a good indicator of how the Florida Parishes, which is a strip of parishes along the I-12 corridor from Baton Rouge to the Mississippi border, are leaning. The type of Republicanism out here is more populist and religious right oriented. Ted Cruz has to do very well out here.
Lafayette Parish: The southwestern Louisiana parish is home to Louisiana’s fourth-largest city. Marco Rubio has some signs of strength in this region according to some polling. Either way, we’ll have an idea of what Acadiana is thinking by keeping our eyes on this parish.
Bossier Parish: The Shreveport suburban parish in northwest Louisiana is a good indicator of how north Louisiana is leaning. North Louisiana’s brand of Republican politics is a gumbo of populism, old school religious right, and a dash of mainstream conservatism. This is another region Ted Cruz must do well in if he is going to win Louisiana.