Which of the seven candidates for state Treasurer will you pick on October 14th? If you’re like most Louisiana voters, you don’t have a clue.
“At this point, it truly is anybody’s race,” says John Couvillon of JMC Analytics.
He’s done a poll of 1050 likely voters, which found that 60-percent were undecided, and 55-percent or more had never heard of any of the four most frequently-mentioned candidates: Angele Davis, Derrick Edwards, John Schroder or Neil Riser.
How do the candidates plan to overcome their lack of name recognition in this statewide race?
“I’m traveling across the state, getting the support of business leaders and community leaders, and that’s how I’ll do that,” says Davis, a Republican from Baton Rouge.
She’s familiar to those in the capital region, having served in the administrations of former governors Foster, Blanco and Jindal. She believes she may have an advantage since, as she notes, “I’m the only female.”
Edwards, the only Democrat, isn’t worried about name recognition, noting that he was on the ballot for U.S. Senator last fall. In the open primary, he came in 8th, behind David Duke.
“People already know who I am,” Edwards asserts. “I justhave to work harder at getting my message out.”
Republican John Schroder of Mandeville, who recently resigned from the state House of Representatives in order to focus on this race, says north Louisiana voters are really no different from those on the Northshore.
“I’ve been in north Louisiana probably, in the last ten years, 25 times or so, talking about budget. I’m no stranger to those towns. I’m no stranger to the people,” Schroder says of the name recognition hurdle. “I’m not really concerned about that.”
State Senator Neil Riser of Columbia, on the other hand, is concerned and seems to have a plan.
“I think you will see a low voter turnout. We’re saying probably 17 to 21%,” Riser says. “It’s an expensive race. Statewide is very expensive. There’ll be the Orleans mayor’s race, so you’ll see a high turnout there. Absolutely, we’ll spend time there.”
Couvillon is confident the key to winning this race is going to be the ads.
“It will be interesting to see who starts advertising first and which candidates’ ads make the most impression on the voters,” he says, “But nobody’s started spending any money.”