For those of you looking for a comprehensive voting guide to today’s election here at the site, we didn’t really do that this year – in the Secretary of State race we posted an endorsement of Kyle Ardoin, for practical reasons outlined here, and we also posted a guide to the constitutional amendments here. But given the lopsided nature of all six congressional elections in Louisiana we didn’t see any real reason to wade into those races with any endorsements – those would be patently obvious. And the rest of the races were local, meaning if we started making endorsements in those we’d be at it a long time.
So instead, we’re going to try our hand at predicting how tonight’s results will go in Louisiana’s races – we’re going to leave the national election predictions for another post (maybe); frankly, anybody who tells you how those will come out is just plain lying to you, because nobody knows and frankly we think the pollsters and pundits are outright propagandizing the American people. We want no part of that.
So we’re sticking to our bailiwick here in hopes of having some limited sense of dignity when the results come out.
All that said, here’s what we’ve come up with…
SECRETARY OF STATE: Runoff – Julie Stokes vs. Gwen Collins-Greenup
Most of the polls we’ve seen of late have Kyle Ardoin and Collins-Greenup in a runoff, but one broke yesterday – it wasn’t made public – which showed Stokes inching ahead of Ardoin and turning this race into a hash Gov. John Bel Edwards couldn’t even have ordered off a restaurant menu.
And we think that poll is probably right.
Stokes hasn’t done much of anything to make her case, other than run more TV and put out more yard signs on public ground than any other candidate in the race. We think her TV ad is abysmal – she doesn’t even talk in it, and the “checklist” items it rattles off are irrelevant to the Secretary of State race – but when it’s the only ad a lot of people have seen and she styles herself a conservative, it’s enough to climb into second place.
It shouldn’t be enough, but when Ardoin comes under attack thanks to $165,000 worth of media from Rick Edmonds who is apparently putting himself in the poorhouse, it seems like it might be. And if this prediction comes true and it’s a Stokes-GCG runoff, Edmonds is going to end up the villain of the field – he’ll have been the man singly responsible for denying conservative voters an option in the Secretary of State’s race, in a lot of eyes.
Maybe that’s not fair. In fact, the real villain here is Louisiana’s atrocious jungle primary, which denies voters a worthwhile structure within which to decide elections. Combine that with a Republican Party which is an abject mess shot through with greedy, incompetent political consultants ginning up candidates who have more money than electability to muddle the electoral field in race after race, and you get Charlie Foxtrot races like this one has been. State GOP chair Louis Gurvich has been on the job less than eight months, but now that he’s seen unmistakable evidence of what he has to work with he’s going to have to do something to put the party on a stronger footing in advance of the 2019 elections.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 1: Steve Scalise
Scalise is going to easily top 50 percent in the primary against a field of hopeless candidates, the loudest of whom is a transplanted northerner named Jim Francis who has spent the past several months blabbering about what the oil and gas industry has done to the coastline. Francis has been such a clown that even the partisan left-wing media has generally endorsed Tammy Savoie, the other Democrat running. As they’re canceling each other out neither will get 20 percent, and in the aftermath maybe Democrats will come to the same conclusion about the jungle primary that we have.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 2: Cedric Richmond
Richmond didn’t draw a Republican opponent, catching a trio of independents instead, and it was a foregone conclusion he was going to win. We’re not sure what else to say about this race.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 3: Clay Higgins
Higgins has flourished since winning an improbably 2016 upset victory over Scott Angelle for this seat, and though he caught a sizable field of opponents none have caught fire in any appreciable way. We like Josh Guillory, the Lafayette Republican who has made the largest splash of the bunch from an attention-grabbing standpoint, but Guillory simply picked the wrong race to enter. The guess is Mimi Methvin, the former federal judge who appears to be the leading Democrat in the race, will finish a poor second. But Higgins will be over 50 percent tonight and earn re-election without a runoff.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 4: Mike Johnson
Johnson is our bet to capture the highest percentage of the vote in all of the six congressional races, as he had the highest percentage two years ago. He’s a perfect fit for his district, combining fiscal conservatism with a Christian social conservative agenda married to a civility few politicians can manage in this day and age. His opposition has been largely moribund, and he’ll be re-elected tonight with no hint of a runoff.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 5: Ralph Abraham
Abraham has been running a “re-election” campaign which has been heavy on ads in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans markets in order to position himself for a statewide run, presumably for governor, next year. He has next to zero name recognition in South Louisiana, but given that the 5th District snakes into St. Francisville, Franklinton and Bogalusa he’s able to justify those big-market media buys. There was never any chance of him losing re-election, though early on there was talk Gov. John Bel Edwards might have directed some PAC dollars toward attacking him and trying to pre-define Abraham negatively. As polling has yet to indicate Abraham is a real threat to Edwards – John Kennedy is the governor’s real source of worry for next year – those opposition dollars never materialized. Abraham will win re-election easily tonight.
U.S. HOUSE DISTRICT 6: Garret Graves
Graves has a pair of Democrat opponents who have spent the whole campaign attacking each other, which has enabled him to run largely unopposed in this cycle. His media campaign has been quite good, positioning him as the congressman who gets things done rather than spending his time arguing with the rest of the clowns in Washington. Given that the 6th District’s priorities have been far more about infrastructure and flood recovery than anything else for the past couple of years, that’s a pretty spot-on message – and given Graves’ having brought home some key deliverables like getting the FEMA double-recovery rule changed, funding for the Comite River Diversion Canal and the I-10 Washington Street exit reworking, it’s one which resonates. He’s going to be re-elected without a runoff tonight.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1: Pass
This amendment is the one imposing a five-year ban on felons running for public office in Louisiana, and we’re confident it’ll pass. It’s really a reinstatement of the previous state law imposing a 15-year ban which was inexplicably thrown out as unconstitutional. We’d expect this to be a lopsided “yes” vote by the state’s voters.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 2: Fail
This is the unanimous juries amendment which has been the subject of so much attention this cycle, and as we noted yesterday it’s been sold in the most ineffective possible way. Even a mildly savvy onlooker could have predicted that sending Marc Morial out to tout a statewide ballot issue on the basis of promoting “racial justice” was a dumb move, but there Morial was last week and yesterday snapping up as much media time as possible. Add to that today’s Advocate article discussing how George Soros and Tom Steyer are funding this thing (yes, the Advocate also included the Koch Brothers), and the conservative voters the amendment needed to pass are going to be repulsed by it.
We came out for it, if for no other reason than that when Louisiana is at odds with the rest of the country it usually means Louisiana is the one in the wrong. But we can’t say we’ll be upset if it fails given how some of the supporters have pushed it.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 3: Fail
Most people won’t see the significance to this amendment, which would allow sharing or loaning of property between political subdivisions. It’s probably a good measure, in that it would promote independence and resourcefulness among local governments, but that’s far too “in the weeds” for your typical voter to grasp. As the default position tends to be “no” on these amendments, we’re going to guess that’s what will happen with this one.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 4: Pass
This is the amendment that would remove funding for the State Police from the Transportation Trust Fund and return all State Police funding to the state general fund. It’s being sold as freeing up more money for roads, and since everybody in Louisiana thinks the roads are awful, and everybody is not wrong, we’re going to guess there’s a majority for practically anything which promises to produce more road funding without raising taxes.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 5: Pass
This is an amendment which ought to fail, but we’re going to bet it passes. It’s the one which would extend certain tax exemptions and benefits to members of protected classes – like for example spouses of first responders who died on duty – to trusts established for those class members. You can’t get any more “in the weeds” than this, which would usually augur against passage, but we notice that Louisiana voters lately seem to be for helping their neighbors avoid tax liability where they can. But we wouldn’t be surprised either way.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 6: Pass
Another amendment which should fail is this one, which would provide for only gradual tax reappraisals for residential property in cases where that property’s value increases precipitously. What this is really about is neighborhoods in New Orleans like Treme and the Bywater, where out-of-state investors are buying up houses to put on AirBnB, and the current residents are therefore being gentrified out of their property. We think it’s going to pass, because we think there will be a sizable vote for it in New Orleans among the people affected by it, plus around the rest of the state we think there’s a decent reserve of distrust about tax assessors to offer support to this amendment. From the standpoint of letting the marketplace work, though, nobody ought to be for this thing.