The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

October 30, 2018

Issue No. 163

Special “BRUH!” Edition

By: Mitch Rabalais (

and Jeremy Alford (


28-30 PERCENT?



Anything is better than 13 percent, unless it’s actually less than 13 percent… But you already knew that.

Thirteen percent was the turnout for Louisiana’s last statewide election, in November, when Treasurer John Schroder was elected in a runoff.

Hopefully, there’s no place to go but up. Because — let’s be honest with ourselves — zero ain’t that much further down.

Memories are apparently short on the issues related to unrestricted access to fair elections.

During the 1960s and 1970s — a blink of an eye ago — some voters were lucky to even see elections for certain offices.

I’m not just referring to the long struggle for civil rights. For instance, during the same timeframe, roughly two decades breezed by in Plaquemines Parish without an election ever being held for its top municipal job. (A consent decree broke up that mess.)

Now election officials are just trying to concoct a turnout that will exceed 13 percent. (How’s that for some Tuesday perspective?)

So, yes, brave Trackers, we have reached a momentous occasion in Bayou State history, a snapshot in time during which a turnout forecast of 28 percent to 30 percent is worth cheering.

[ … Pause for applause … ]

Thank you! And congratulations to you too!

[ … Wink at and point to Alario … ]

Alas, Trackers. Let us reserve such joy for another day, perhaps another election.

What you require right now are benchmarks, starting with the 2015 JBE-Vitter runoff that generated a 40 percent turnout, and the 1991 EWE-Duke general election that clocked in at 79 percent. Those are better baselines for normalcy and achievement, respectively.

So, you may be wondering about that 28 percent to 30 percent forecast for the Nov. 6, 2018, election. Well, that’s the official prediction, as of 2:03 p.m., from THE LaPOLITICS TURNOUT ESTIMATING CONFERENCE. (The membership is basically the occupants of Room G252 in the Capitol, along with the data nerds who were available to speak today to said occupants. A weighted averaging is involved, too, but let’s just take a deep breath.)

Candidate and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin was still calculating his forecast as of 2:04 p.m. this afternoon. [ON-DEADLINE 3:06 P.M. UPDATE: Ardoin’s office has it at 30 percent to 35 percent.]

In related news, early voting is HOT! It’s legit, it’s record-breaking and it could be the beginning of something notable. Or not. You know how it is, which is to say, It is what it is, bruh. We’ll see.

But the numbers are easy on the eyes.

What’s going on? Which candidates will benefit? What does it mean for SOS? What’s really driving votes? Subscribers to LaPolitics Weekly get the inside track Thursday


November 2014 — seven day total — 245,609 

(65 percent white; 32.5 percent black; 2.5 percent other)

October 2017 — six day total — 80,821

(72 percent white; 25.8 percent black; 2.2 percent other)

November 2018 — six day total — 255,667

(69.9 percent white; 27 percent black; 3.1 percent other)


November 2014 — seven day total — 22,830

(59.4 percent white; 37.8 percent black; 2.9 percent other)

October 2017 — six day total — 6,646

(75.6 percent white; 23.1 percent black; 2 percent other)

November 2018 — six day total — 24,680

(62 percent white; 34 percent black; 3.6 percent other)


November 2014 — seven day total — 24,196

(24.6 percent white; 71.6 percent black; 3.7 percent other)

October 2017 — six day total — 13,357

(28.5 percent white; 67.4 percent black; 4 percent other)

November 2018 — six day total — 22,178

(33.7 percent white; 61.2 percent black; 5.1 percent other)

(H/T The Trout Slayer)

A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates



Those pictured with the NOVA Chemicals Day resolution during the Ascension Parish Council Meeting include (left to right) Council member John Cagnolatti, Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa, Geismar Olefins Integration and Change Leader Scott Kay, Geismar Olefins Maintenance Manager Thomas Cannon, and Council members Randy Clouatre and Todd Lambert. 

On October 23, 2018, at ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the Geismar Olefins facility, HDA client NOVA Chemicals Corporation (“NOVA Chemicals”) announced the establishment of a $50,000 endowed scholarship at River Parishes Community College. The scholarship will support local students pursuing degrees in process technology (PTEC), instrumentation and electrical studies. NOVA Chemicals acquired the Geismar Olefins facility in 2017. The facility began operations in 1967 with start-up and first ethylene production in 1968. Today, the company employs 130 people in the production of ethylene, polymer grade propylene and various co-products. The establishment of an endowed scholarship at RPCC is part of the NOVA Chemicals’ commitment to being a socially responsible neighbor and to supporting area science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education. “The chemical industry is critical to the state’s economy in terms of dollars and jobs. The commitment that NOVA Chemicals has made here today to RPCC is another example of how facilities such as NOVA contribute to our state’s economic health now, as well as into our future,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. The Lieutenant Governor was the featured speaker at the anniversary event. In recognition of the milestone, the Ascension Parish Council and its president also proclaimed October 23 as “NOVA Chemicals Day” in the parish. He presented NOVA Chemicals representatives with a plaque commemorating the occasion during a meeting of the parish council earlier in October.


LSU’s campus buzzing with politics

On Saturday night, Coach Ed Orgeron will lead the LSU football team, ranked fourth in the nation, onto the field in Tiger Stadium to do battle with its Alabama rival. For diehard LSU fans, this is what it’s all about.

But it’s not just athletics making crunching noises this week among the campus’ stately oaks and broad magnolias. LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander is hosting a two-day political symposium, “Behind the Ballot,” featuring lectures, panel discussions and even a debate among the candidates running for secretary of state.

Last night, six of the contenders vying to be Louisiana’s next elections chief met for their final meeting before voters head to the polls. They fielded questions from reporters and students, addressing the issues currently facing the office that they hope to occupy in January.

Among the topics being discussed at the various other forums are social media, cybersecurity, youth voter registration, minority groups in politics and election integrity. New York Times Opinion Editor James Dao will be delving the keynote address Tuesday night, addressing his paper’s decision to publish the now-infamous op-ed from inside the Trump Administration.

Even though Coach O and the boys may be getting the big attention right now, Louisiana’s favorite fall spectator sport — politics — is still very much underway on campus. (MJR)


Manship dean talks polling,

election returns and more, bruh…

MJR: We saw some big news come out of the Manship School last week with the poll that you conducted in partnership with the Cook Political Report. James Carville was a big part of that as well. How did this project come about?

Manship School of Mass Communication Dean Martin Johnson: Well, James was a part of it primarily because it was his suggestion and he put a lot of work into helping us get if off the ground. However, the real work of it, in terms of conducting the survey itself, was done by Mike Henderson, the director of the Public Policy Lab here at the Manship School. So there were several of us that worked on it — Mike, me, James and Jenee Slocum. We put together a midterms survey with questions that were essentially repeats from a similar project in 2010, assessing the first midterm elections that Barack Obama faced. By replicating those questions, we could make some interesting comparisons between President Trump’s first midterms and President Obama’s first midterms.

MJR: This was a project that has gotten a lot of attention outside of Louisiana, especially on Capitol Hill. What does it mean for the Manship School and the Reilly Center to be producing these big-ticket type projects?

Dean Johnson: First and foremost, we want to be part of the national conversation. We want to lead the national conversation. And to do that, you have got to do relevant work, so I think that was a core part of James’ motivation, was wanting to encourage that kind of national-scope ambition. We see in a lot of things we do, we have that national-scope ambition, so it fit right in. It was something that hopefully puts us into that national conversation, contributes to that national conversation, giving us something interesting and useful to talk about. The particular design that we were able to deploy, where we looked at those competitive districts, not a lot of surveys do that. That was a special thing, as well as getting into the depth assessments of the president, assessments of the politics of the midterms. It was way beyond the generic ballot horserace kind of survey, which is what we usually see.

MJR: When folks are watching the returns on election night, what are some things that they should be looking for that could be indicators of what the new balance of power will be on Capitol Hill?

Dean Johnson: I think you have got to look at those lean seats. Mike Henderson talked today at Press Club and gave what I thought was crystal clear analysis. There are a set of lean seats that are currently held by Republicans, that Republicans are really vulnerable on. So if the primary question that you are focused on is if the House is going to flip, you have got to look at those lean seats that are currently held by Republicans where the incumbent is vulnerable. So I’m talking about places like the Texas Seventh in the Houston area, there are some Dallas area races, some Atlanta area races, there is the South Carolina First. There are a bunch of these places, none of them are in Louisiana, so look past Louisiana. All of ours are pretty solid. But look at those really vulnerable seats that Charlie Cook, David Wasserman and Amy Walter and the folks at the Cook Political Report have identified as the real battleground. If you see those turning for the Democrats, we’re in for a long night for Republicans.

MJR: Without revealing too much, can you tell us about some of the projects you have planned for next year with the state elections coming up?

Dean Johnson: Of course, everybody should look to the annual Louisiana survey. We will absolutely do the annual Louisiana survey. In terms of other specific state projects, we’re definitely talking about how to contribute. We have always been a place, especially since the inception of the Reilly Center, that tried to convene interesting, policy-relevant conversations for the state of Louisiana, and of course, we will continue to do that into 2019. So look for more on the horizon.

MJR: We’ve talked political predictions, but can you give me a prediction for the LSU-Alabama game this weekend?

Dean Johnson: I was listening to the KLSU sports show yesterday, which is as good as you would want to hear, and we have some great students that are following the season. They were suggesting that we should temper our expectations as a fan base. It’s been a great season and I want to go out there and have fun and of course, the Tigers are going to win!


It’s the final countdown!

With the balance of power on Capitol Hill still in doubt, almost all major bills, meetings and actions are on hold as members hit the campaign trail.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy hosted a health summit on Tuesday in Baton Rouge, discussing various ways to improve mental health care in the state. The senator also co-authored a new medical article this week about finding alternative sources of funding for Hepatitis C treatment.

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy is traveling in Asia this week. The junior senator is part of a Congressional delegation that is meeting with officials in Japan and China to discuss ongoing American trade negotiations and agricultural exports.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is out with a new ad for his re-election campaign. The 30 second spot is titled “Honored and Blessed” and features the Whip speaking about the work he has done on Capitol Hill towards costal restoration, economic development and Medicare.

— Congressional Black Caucus Chair Cedric Richmond is out campaigning for Democrats across the country this week, as his party tries to take back control of the lower chamber.

— Congressman Garret Graves spent Tuesday down da bayou with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke discussing offshore oil production. Graves is spending the rest of the week meeting with parish presidents in the capital region and hitting up the rubber chicken circuit.

— Congressman Clay Higgins is out on the campaign trail in Acadiana with only a week to go until voters head to the polls. Higgins will be holding a rally on Friday in Sulphur, featuring Texas Congressman Randy Weber, a colleague from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham has signed up to co-sponsor the “Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act” authored by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The bill would appropriate funds to build the border wall being pushed by President Donald Trump and the White House.

A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates


The Key to Louisiana’s Economy

The chemical industry is the no. 1 provider of jobs in Louisiana’s manufacturing sector, supports more than $79.7 billion in annual sales for businesses in our state and contributes more than $1.1 billion yearly to the Louisiana treasury, according to a report conducted by noted economist Dr. Loren Scott.

Employing more than 29,000 people with an average salary of $106,600, the industry is one of the best-paying, most reliable employers in Louisiana. However, it’s widespread effect on the job market doesn’t stop there. For every job created in the industry, an additional 8.3 jobs are created in other sectors – these are small business owners, contract workers and other occupations integral to our state.

With this type of footprint, it’s clear that the chemical industry is the key to Louisiana’s economic success and future growth. We need to encourage investments so that our businesses, communities and workforce can continue to thrive.

To follow the Louisiana Chemical Association on Facebook, please visit:



MJR: How Coach Blanco finally learned to stir the pot

The summer of 1984 found Edwin Edwards serving the first year of his third term in the Governor’s Mansion. Lawmakers were grappling with tax increases, budget shortfalls and funding cuts. In the District of Columbia, President Ronald Reagan was declaring that it was "morning again in America,” as Walter Mondale vanished into the night air.

Meanwhile in Lafayette, Raymond “Coach” Blanco was facing an entirely different set of daunting challenges. By then, Coach was a top administrator at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. But his struggles were not occurring at work, they were placed firmly at home.

His wife, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, was Acadiana’s newest member of the House of Representatives. While Coach had been supportive of her new career, Kathleen’s presence in Baton Rouge meant that he would now have to undertake the household tasks she had managed for the previous 20 years.

With their six children all still living at home and Coach’s not-so-graceful touch, it was no small undertaking.

As that year’s regular session dragged on, the frozen and portioned meals that then-Rep. Blanco had previously prepared for the family started to dwindle. As the freezer emptied, Coach began hitting up the drive-thrus on his way home from work. For a family that was accustomed to home-cooked meals, the novelty wore off quickly.

After a few weeks, he was out of options. He needed help. “He didn’t even know how to boil water,” recounted Mrs. Blanco in a recent interview with LaPolitics.

So Coach took to calling his wife at her desk in the House chamber. Could she tell him how to cook something for the kids? What about his mother’s recipe for spaghetti that Kathleen could replicate almost perfectly?

With the phone pressed to her ear between votes, then-Rep. Blanco walked her husband through the process — from where the pots were to how to brown onions.

By the end of the regular session, the burly former football coach had discovered a knack for cooking. The eating part, after all, came natural. For his wife, it was a welcome relief. “I have never cooked spaghetti since then,” she said with a laugh.



JBE is back in campaign mode

— How some shades of 2015 may appear in 2019

— Debate on the gas tax is on the horizon

— The House is launching their search for a new clerk

— What do Jeff Landry and Eddie Rispone have in common?

Rudy Giuliani is still involved in the Third Congressional District

— Legislative Watchlist Update

— What’s up with constitutional amendments

— Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser’s re-election campaign leads off Field Notes

— A lot of collusion in out “They Said It” feature

— Plus more, bruh!


— Hey bruh. Dig this: Rep. Jay Morris is getting into the 2019 endorsement game early, telling Gannett’s Greg Hilburn that he is behind U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s possible campaign for governor. Morris also took aim at fellow Republican Eddie Rispone, saying that he is too close to influential lobbyists and special interest groups in Baton Rouge.

— WAFB: “Gov. John Bel Edwards and members of the Louisiana delegation met with Israeli energy minister Yuval Steinitz Sunday to explore a partnership that would send Louisiana drilling companies to Israel.”

— According to The Times-Pic, two fantasy sports companies, FanDuel and Draft Kings, have put up over $1 million to support the constitutional amendment that would legalize their businesses in Louisiana.

— Former Sen. A.G. Crowe is raffling off a vacation in his campaign RV at the conclusion of the race for secretary of state. Voters can register for a trip in the “Crowe mobile” simply by liking the campaign’s Facebook page.

— State Treasurer John Schroeder’s office will be mailing out nearly 85,000 checks, worth a total of $15 million, to residents as part of the Treasury department’s unclaimed property program.


— There are 13 references to “BRUH” in this edition of the Tracker. Correctly identify all of them (prove it via and you can win this limited edition LaPOLITICS NOTEBOOK! Instantly become a journalist! Write your next book! Pass notes to your favorite lobbyist!


— Tuesday 10/30: Robert Allain

— Wednesday 10/31: Rep. Franklin Foil, Lake Providence town attorney Andy Brister and former Sen. Dan Richey

— Thursday 11/1: Rep. Cameron Henry, Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, Clancy DuBos and Frederick Bell

— Friday 11/2: Cheron Brylski,John Camp and Tanzania Jones

— Saturday 11/3: Late U.S. Sen. Russell Long (That’s 1918, bruh), Andy Dreher and Kevin Chiri

— Sunday 11/4: Matt Spradley, Charles Gaiennie, Michael McHale and Daniel Dufour

— Monday 11/5: Rep. Stephanie Hilferty, Daryn Bovard, Keith Leger, Molly Andrews and Al Carter

Copyright © 2018
Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review
All rights reserved.
Tuesday Tracker
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Mail: Post Office Box 44511, Baton Rouge, LA 70804
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Facebook: LaPolitics, bruh

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