by Elliott Stonecipher
Yes, as we know, national political eyes are now on Louisiana, more so than other states where Democrats could lose U. S. Senate seats come November. If those races end up as they now stand, our nation’s last election in determining which party controls the U. S. Senate would be a December run-off for Senator Mary Landrieu’s seat.
It is a fact that Senator Landrieu wins her campaigns, all of them in her career except the 1995 governor’s race. In that long record of wins, she at times won ugly, too ugly for some of us. For that and other reasons, Senator Landrieu now finds herself, by acclamation, in the electoral fight of her life. Her political career may or may not end this year, and more than a few of us believe Louisiana needs precisely the showdown it takes to determine that.
That Senator Landrieu is our last Democrat standing among statewide elected officials has only increased her power. Our state’s good-sized army of Democrat Party soldiers, from rural parish officials to U. S. Attorneys, salute and serve but one leader. They turn a supposed “red” political state to one yet producing, in many notable ways, a deep purple political product. That the Senator often works and votes in opposition to the will of Louisiana’s majority is well-known, as in her unflaggingly strong support of President Obama. The most recent poll* on this race shows only one-in-three of the rest of us support him.
Equally dramatic would be the change if the Senator loses. Louisiana would then send no Democrat U. S. Senator to Washington for the first time since Reconstruction, and the state Democratic Party would slip into a political purgatory unknown to it in state history.
A Misunderestimation of Senator Landrieu’s Chances?
Many national analysts now conclude that Senator Landrieu will lose this election. If I didn’t know so much about her previous campaigns, I would join in, but I do, so I don’t.
Yes, it is true that the Senator took her seat with only 50.2% of the vote in her 1996 defeat of State Representative Woody Jenkins, then increased her election percentage to only 51.7% when, in 2002, she beat Suzanne Terrell. Then in 2008, even with the supercharged Dem turnout for President Obama, she beat State Treasurer John Kennedy with 52.7% of the vote.
That’s an unimpressive 2.5% increase in her winning percentage in 12 years, a period during which other statewide elections for Read more