It appears some negotiation and political maneuvering is warranted after an absolutely crazy situation turned up in the Senate District 16 race last night. That’s the one where Reps. Steve Carter and Franklin Foil have been slugging out a nailbiter of a race against Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson.
Though it appeared late Saturday that Franklin Foil had edged out Steve Carter, both Republicans, by a mere eight votes for the No. 2 spot in the Senate District 16 runoff against Democratic front-runner Beverly Brooks Thompson, a computerized recount of mail-in votes on Sunday has resulted in a tie between Foil and Carter.
The camps of both Foil and Carter confirm they were notified late Sunday afternoon by Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin of the surprise findings. Foil says all three candidates were called to Ardoin’s office at 6 p.m. and met to discuss the developments.
The news came as shock to Foil, who thought he had finished the primary with 12,533 votes, eight more than Carter’s 12,525. Thompson finished with 14,215
“They told us they had rerun the written ballots, which they said is not that unusual, and when they reran them it showed my race with Steve was a tie,” Foil says. “Last night we were eight votes up. Now, we are tied. So we are trying to figure out moving forward what we will do.”
The Secretary of State’s office, as a matter of course, will open the machines Tuesday to certify Saturday’s results. On Thursday, the campaigns can officially request a full recount by hand of the 1,000 or so mail-in ballots, which Foil says he plans to do.
“That is the plan right now, just to make sure every vote is counted and to make sure we have everything in our favor,” he says. “We were a little surprised that our eight votes went away.”
What’s being discussed now is a three-way runoff, and that can’t happen. Thompson led the primary with 34 percent, while Foil and Carter each had 30. Another Republican, Bob Bell, had four percent and a Libertarian had three.
It’s possible that either Foil or Carter could rack up a big majority of the seven percent that would be shaken free, and thus climb over Thompson in a three-way race, but that isn’t a good bet.
If the full recount still produces a tie, a deal is going to have to be made. No party worth its salt would allow this race to go to the Democrats because of a three-way runoff.
And thankfully, there is a deal to be made.
Next year, there will be a mayor-president election in Baton Rouge. Sharon Weston Broome will be up for re-election, and seeing as though she barely managed to beat Bodi White three years ago in the first place and has been the worst mayor in Baton Rouge’s history – something which really isn’t arguable – that’s still a winnable race for the GOP.
Carter and Foil are both personally popular enough to make a good race of it against Broome. With enough money and a unified support base, the numbers are there to win. East Baton Rouge Parish isn’t particularly a Republican place, but by voter registration it’s 50 percent white and 44 percent black. White lost to Broome mainly because he lost 25 percent of the white vote to her.
Our theory is those 25 percent, who are mostly in Spanish Town, Southdowns and the Hundred Oaks/Garden District area, and Bocage, with a smattering in the upper income neighborhoods down Highland Road from LSU, are less ideologically motivated to vote for a Sharon Weston Broome than they are culturally motivated. The biggest problem Republicans have had in the past four election cycles, losing three times to Kip Holden and then to Broome, is that the GOP candidate has sounded “country.” Those somewhat urbane white voters in Baton Rouge don’t want “country” candidates, and so they rejected White, Mike Walker, Spider Carter and Bobby Simpson; the latter was an incumbent brought down by the inability of the Baton Rouge Police Department to catch Derrick Todd Lee before he’d killed a slew of mostly white women in town.
Capturing half of that 25 percent who leaked out to Broome in 2016 makes a Republican the mayor-president of Baton Rouge. And East Baton Rouge Parish, which just saw St. George vote to incorporate itself, which will make for some fairly interesting challenges to the city-parish’s fisc for the next four years and beyond, is going to need a Republican mayor-president in the worst way. Somebody with an adult perspective will need to be in charge of reallocating the city-parish’s budget toward basic infrastructure and services and away from the fluff currently in it – because the people in St. George aren’t going to be available to siphon money from now that they’ve incorporated.
Not to mention that Broome has already proven she isn’t capable of managing the complex relationships within the parish. She’s a failure. Everybody knows it.
Either Foil or Carter is more than capable of beating Broome and constituting an improvement in her office.
So the deal is this – one of them, and we don’t care who, we can decide it based on a coin flip or rock-paper-scissors, agrees to drop out of the Senate race in return for the full support of the Republican Party in Baton Rouge and statewide as the party’s candidate for mayor-president in next year’s election, and a full bag of campaign cash to kick off the effort to knock Broome out of that office she’s clearly incapable of successfully holding. Either would be the best candidate the GOP has put forth for that job, with apologies to White whose resume is quite good, and with a commitment of support either can win.
And even if that doesn’t work to flip the mayor-president seat next year, at the very least such a deal would insure the GOP doesn’t bungle the District 16 seat away to a left-wing, pro-abortion Democrat totally incapable of getting a majority of the votes in the district.