Federal Races Crammed With Candidates

pols

On the Nov. 8 ballot in Louisiana there will be 63 different candidates running in seven federal races for the U.S House and Senate, meaning voters will have plenty of names to choose from — possibly more than any other time in recent history.

In the U.S. Senate race alone 24 candidates qualified last week hoping to succeed senior Sen. David Vitter. That’s more than any other U.S. Senate race hosted by Louisiana since at least 1980.

There were 16 candidates running in 2010 to oppose Vitter’s re-election, which was the first balloting to follow the revelation about the so-called D.C. Madam controversy. Before that, in 1996, 15 candidates qualified in the race to replace retiring Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, a contest that former Sen. Mary Landrieu won.

Twenty-four candidates are difficult to manage from almost every perspective, even by the standards of Louisiana politics, said Martin Johnson, an LSU political science professor and the Kevin P. Reilly chair at the Manship School of Mass Communication.

“What a problem for pollsters,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I’m sure you want as many people as possible in those assessments, but what a challenge.

It could be worse, he added; in 2003 in California the recall ballot for then-Gov. Gray Davis resulted in 135 candidates qualifying, including movie icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, an adult film star, a pornography publisher, unemployed actor Gary Coleman, a state senator and a cast of others.

Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race won’t be as crowded, but the 24 qualifications do send an early message that no single, competitive candidate has their respective base solidified yet, Johnson said.

“A big part of this is that there’s not a clear answer to the who big powerhouse will be in the future and there’s a lot of political ambition out there,” he said.

The list of notables is large and includes Congressman Charles Boustany, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, former Congressman Joseph Cao, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, attorney Caroline Fayard, Congressman John Fleming, former state legislator Troy Hebert, Treasurer John Kennedy, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, New Orleans businessman Abhay Patel and Acadiana oil executive Joshua Pellerin — to name just 11 from the 24-person field.

On a smaller ballot, the leading candidates would be pushing for a large share of the electorate to make it to the runoff, but with the primary votes being split up among so many different names the margins will be much tighter.

“The folks who end up in the runoff will presumably have percentages in the low 20s,” said Johnson.

The two open seats in the U.S. House delegation has drawn a large number of contenders as well — 12 in the Acadiana-based 3rd Congressional District, to replace Boustany, and eight in northwest Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District, to replace Fleming.

No member of Louisiana’s House delegation will be running unopposed this fall. All of the four incumbents seeking re-election have fielded challengers.

THE LaPOLITICS REPORT: Picard, Politics & Ponies

Tyron Picard of The Picard Group drops in for a conversation about a bygone era in Louisiana politics, the current landscapes for government

CAPITOL GAINS: At Home with Clay

 “This is what America wants to see.” That was the promise from a beer-toting Congressman Clay Higgins in this episode of Capitol

SPONSORED: The 106th First Lady’s Luncheon

The Picard Group was honored to attend the 106th First Lady’s Luncheon, honoring The First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump. Held on

IT’S PERSONAL

This story was originally published in LaPOLITICS Weekly on May 4, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community by

THIS COULD BE YOU

You could say legislators in Illinois really dropped the ball when they failed to pass an operating budget for their state prior to the 2016

POD: Politics & Drilling, According To Briggs

In this episode of The LaPolitics Report, we talk to Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs, who recently succeeded his

POD: I’m Sorry, Miss Jackson

Katrina Jackson, a state rep who’s running for senator, talks about her time leading the Black Caucus and working as a legislative staffer.

SPONSORED: Acadian Companies’ 2018 Medic & EMT Of The Year

On Thursday, May 3, Acadian Companies held their annual luncheon to honor Paramedic Jerret Dunlap and EMT Taylor Walden who were selected as

LOWDOWN: John Stefanski on Community

Crowley native and freshman Rep. John Stefanski is here to talk about community, both at home and online. John talks about the influence

SPONSORED: Congratulations!

Congratulations to LHC Group for being recognized as the 2018 Junior Achievement of Acadiana Large Company of the Year. On Tuesday, May 1,

SHELVING SCHEDLER: SOS now an open seat, special election coming

The field of maybe-candidates who were waiting on Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s exit were also quietly hoping for a special election,

Barras’ Ultimatum, JBE’s Tax Reduction & Talk Of A “Reasonable Compromise”

— Has Speaker Taylor Barras issued an ultimatum? Reporters and Gov. John Bel Edwards seem to think so. Journos put out the word via Twitter

ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Democrats Still Finding Their Way At Capitol

Being a Democratic member of the Louisiana Legislature isn’t always unicorns, rainbows and lollipops. Sometimes it can get a little rough.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL: Lawmakers taking hits in their mailboxes

Rebuild Louisiana began sending out direct mail in legislative districts across the state last week in a “continual effort to educate the

Rabalais’ Political History: When a constitutional convention became a full-scale riot

By 1866, Louisiana had been devastated by the ravages of the Civil War. Almost 3,000 of the state’s citizens had been killed in the

Political Chatter

— Former Democratic Rep. Ledricka Thierry announced she is running for District Judge for the 27th Judicial District in the November 2020

Gamard’s Beltway Beat: Netanyahu & Gleason

Two things: — News broke yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accusing Iran of lying about its nuclear aspirations,

#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 05/01: Gregory Todd Hilburn, Caitlin Berni and Rhett Davis — Wednesday 05/02: Elizabeth McKnight — Thursday 05/03: Former U.S.

WEEKLY: Amendment Bills Reach 6-Year Low

The number of proposed constitutional amendments introduced by state legislators during regular sessions has hit a six-year low, just as

WEEKLY: Dems Prep Party Candidates

In an effort to fill nearly 30 open seats on the Democratic State Central Committee and numerous other positions on parish executive

LOWDOWN: Helena Moreno on Effective Advocacy

Meet Helena Nancy Moreno. She’s the former state representative from House District 93, in the French Quarter. Helena was still in the

SPONSORED: CABL Drafting 2019 Agenda

For more than 50 years, the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL) has been an advocate for positive change at the state level, focusing on

The House Versus the Senate

“Every year we send a lean thoroughbred race horse to the Senate in the form of a budget, and they send back a dairy cow. Full of milk and a

Stuff Jeremy Didn’t Know Yesterday Morning…

Between a book project on the 1973 constitutional convention, a series of history segments produced by LaPolitics, committee meetings and

Rabalais’ Political History: Mayor Maestri’s Lunch With Franklin Roosevelt

While this week marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, it is also the annual commemoration of a less heralded event in