Christmas in March for LA 4th District Cong. John Fleming


By Elliott Stonecipher
Christmas treeAs most of us are wishin’ and hopin’ that winter is done and gone, one North Louisiana public official awoke today to Christmas in March. Under the political tree of John Fleming, Louisiana’s 4th District U. S. Congressman, was what he considers a bell-ringer of a gift: Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover’s confirmation of a plan to challenge the Congressman in this fall’s election.

In fact, this is actually more about U. S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s re-election campaign, about which I wrote last week. For many months there has been a steady thrum of buzz about the Senator deploying certain of her strongest in-state political assets — Glover and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo — to increase black voter turnout in the primary election on November 4. Glover, term-limited as mayor, is the poster child of the op: he, according to the details of the reputed Landrieu plan, will qualify to run against Fleming, then start a steady drum-banging of race-related yuck to tune-up an unsuspecting African-American community. The Senator will rise above the fray and disavow any knowledge of, much less involvement in, the stinkiness. What Glover is set to bag from the deal is now the subject of focused attention.

Mayor Mayo might, as the details allege, do likewise in the race for the District 5 Public Service Commission seat now held by Foster Campbell, or in the 5th Congressional District race against new member, Vance McAllister. That one seems a bit less likely since McAllister received valuable help from the Monroe Mayor in his special election campaign last November. To round-out the bobtail ticket of Landrieu turn-out boosters, Edwin Edwards is now an announced candidate in the 6th Congressional District race.

Even those in the Landrieu camp who want to stomp out any mention of this op admit that the facts supporting its reality are irrefutable. First, Senator Landrieu needs a monstrous black voter turnout to win re-election, at least up to the level she reached in her 2008 re-election, a ballot she shared with Barak Obama as he was elected. Second, neither Glover or Mayo are seen to have any real chance of winning such campaigns. The 4th District is one-third African-American, the 5th District is only a couple of points higher, and neither Glover nor Mayo have the racial cross-over vote capability to win against those metrics. Edwards’s shot is better, but his hill to election in the 6th District nonetheless steep. Even if he makes it to the December 6 general election with the leading Republican candidate, winning requires him to get 100% of the votes of African-American registrants in the 6th District (22% of the district’s total registration), plus 36% of the voters who are white and other races.

As published in Shreveport’s local Fax Net Update, Glover is now on record, albeit with a statement that’s the stuff of Santa Claus, including these howlers:

I am flattered and humbled by the overwhelming number of folks who have encouraged me to run for Congress. I am equally impressed by the wide spectrum of individuals, people from practically every demographic imaginable, who have offered to help, assist and support.

Because of the great respect I have for those who believe that I could make a difference in DC, I have agreed to at least keep an open mind regarding the possibility. The one thing I am sure of is that the people of the Fourth District deserve a choice, as well as a vigorous dialogue, regarding the challenges and opportunities within our region and who can best advance and protect our interests in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In truth, Glover, who many Shreveport city hall insiders report is only rarely seen there anymore, is generally thought of as the least effective and most unpopular mayor in Shreveport’s modern history. In fact, Glover’s political support is now capped at no more than that which attaches to his fealty to Senator Landrieu.

Congressman Fleming, as if in direct confirmation of just how politically radioactive Glover is, has told key supporters that he sincerely hopes Glover talks up his candidacy as loudly and widely as possible, then gets in the race — yesterday. To the Congressman, any and everything Glover says and does directly benefits his interests, not only in an actual November 4 win, but also in boosting his campaign coffers far above the amount needed to beat Glover.

Along the way, the wisdom of Senator Mary Landrieu’s plan, if it makes it to and through candidate qualifying in late August, will be dramatically tested. If such allies, no matter how fleeting the associations, succeed only in raising black and and a reactive white voter turnout, the residual for her is negative. A rigging by any other name is still a rigging — a la Governor Jindal’s failed attempt to rig last year’s 5th Congressional District special election — and nothing says so more loudly than dependence on such polarizing and solidly negative political properties as Glover and Edwards.

— Elliott Stonecipher

Elliott Stonecipher’s reports and commentaries are written strictly in the public interest, with no compensation of any kind solicited or accepted. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing — unedited only, please — of his work is requested and appreciated.