David Vitter

LAPolitics.com

Just in time for another runoff election, there’s a new book out about last year’s race.

Long Shot is the story of the 2015 race for governor, as told from the campaign trail, and it was everything that we love about Louisiana politics.”


S. Lincoln

If you’ve been thinking there’s a surplus of candidates for the 2016 presidential election, just wait till you hear how many are eyeing Louisiana’s 2016 U.S. Senate race.

It’s been just over 3 weeks since David Vitter conceded the governor’s race and announced, “I’m eager to refocus on the important work of the United States Senate, but I’m only going to be doing that for one more year, through this term.”

Now potential candidates for that open seat are coming out of the woodwork. First up was Republican congressman John Fleming of Minden.

Sue Lincoln

Before November 24th, nearly every political expert agreed: John Bel Edwards couldn’t win.

“He’s a Democrat running in a state and a time where nobody believes a Democrat can win statewide,” Edwards’ campaign strategist Jared Arsement said was what they were told, over and over,

He was among the campaign insiders who gathered with political experts at LSU last week, for a debriefing on how Edwards won – and David Vitter lost – the Louisiana governorship. Mary Patricia Wray with the Edwards campaign admitted it was a seemingly impossible task.

“One of the first polls that we ever ran showed the Governor-elect at, I think, seven or eight percent name recognition. And we of course all sat around and said, ‘Well this great. We have so much room to grow’,” Wray recounted with a laugh. “But the same poll that told us nobody knew who we were also showed us that we had a very narrow, but a very clear path to winning.”

Sue Lincoln

You open the refrigerator door to grab some milk, and you’re overwhelmed with leftovers from yesterday’s feast. 

Now that we’ve had some time to digest the election, Kevin Litten, political reporter with NOLA.com, joins me to inventory the election leftovers.

Litten says the meat of the feast had to have been the question of integrity.

“John Bel was so effective at making this case about character.”

S. Lincoln

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee meets this morning to vote on the Jindal administration plan to solve the current budget shortfall. That’s got David Vitter’s and John Bel Edwards’ knickers in a knot.

Vitter says it solves nothing, describing the administration’s plan as, “More patching, more moving money around, more depending on very speculative money; and for us to be sweeping that to solve our problems now, I think is irresponsible.”

Edwards agrees.

S. Lincoln: screenshot from debate broadcast

The Revenue Estimating Conference met Monday, acknowledging oil and gas prices, sales tax and corporate tax collections are far below what was anticipated.

Legislative fiscal analyst Greg Albrecht summed it up, saying, “We’re a long way from hitting the total forecast.”

The state is $370-million away, in the current fiscal year.  The biggest hole is created not by oil prices, but by corporate taxes. The explanation offered was businesses had rushing to claim tax credits before legislative reductions kicked in.

Frank Barnett

Just 5 days left till Saturday’s runoff election, and in the past week gubernatorial candidate David Vitter has become more visible, including speaking with two faith-based communities late last week.

Vitter spoke at Jefferson Baptist in Baton Rouge Thursday evening – a solo appearance -- put on in part by the Louisiana Family Forum. There the Republican addressed religious freedom.

Courtesy LPB

They talked over each other, and the moderators. And by the end of Tuesday night’s debate between David Vitter and John Bel Edwards, one thing was abundantly clear: the two candidates for governor despise each other.

“John Bel, you’re just wrong,” Vitter flung at his opponent.

“Senator Vitter, you’ve been lying sideways in the public trough since 1992,” Edwards said.

Sue Lincoln

 When David Vitter and John Bel Edwards faced the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, there wasn’t much discussion of what they would each do as governor. Instead, talk was mostly about the campaign itself. Vitter was asked about Edwards’ latest ad.

“I failed my family 15 years ago. Everyone knows that,” Vitter said. “The good news is, I asked for and received forgiveness.”

“The issue isn’t just family, and it isn’t just forgiveness,” Edwards responded. “His performance of his public duties were compromised, as well.”

Three polls conducted since the October 24th primary show Democrat John Bel Edwards continuing to lead Republican David Vitter in the contest for governor. Edwards received 40-percent to Vitter’s 23-percent of the primary vote, and leads by a margin of anywhere from eight to 20 percent for the runoff, according to those polls.

But are the polls merely reflective of voter leanings, or do the polls somehow influence how people vote?

“Under certain conditions, the polls can have an influence,” according to LSU political science professor Robert Hogan.

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