Well that was pretty anticlimactic. Regardless, let’s take a look at the election winners and losers from this weekend’s elections.
- Jeff Landry – Governor
His opponents won’t be happy about it. But Jeff Landry did what he needed to do to win. Which was the bare minimum. After being prematurely endorsed by the state Republican Party, and former President Donald Trump, Landry took an early lead in the polls and coasted to victory. Not once did he appear on stage at a debate with the other candidates. Or even engage them at parish fair or forum. Instead, Landry used his money, and popularity, to set the tone of the election. And the other candidates could never quite catch up to him. With 35.8% of voters turning out statewide, Landry won going away. In a field of 15, he finished with 52% of the vote.
(The Orleans effect: As expected, Landry struggled in Orleans Parish. He finished with only 10% of the vote. Only 27% of voters actually turned out. But more on that later.)
- Constitutional Amendments.
It was a good day to be an amendment. All 4 of the proposed amendments passed, quite easily. In Louisiana the freedom to worship has been granted the highest order of protection under the constitution. It’s illegal for private businesses or foreign governments to fund elections. Now, instead of 10%, 25% of surplus funds will be dedicated to state retirement systems. And slum lords will no longer be eligible for property tax exemptions.
Related: Democrats are the problem
(The Orleans effect: In Orleans Parish, all 4 passed with at least 54% of the vote. Only 25% actually showed to vote, but more on that later. Locally, a 4.97 mills 20 year renewal for the School Board passed with 64%. And 2 charter amendments, one to create a Department of Code Enforcement, and another to give the City Council an extra 30 days to go over the city’s budget, passed by even greater percentages.
- Sydney Torres
Torres made it clear that he’s not to be trifled with. Torres got into some beef with longtime Jefferson Parish political consultant Greg Buisson behind a recycling contract, and decided to settle it in the Jefferson Parish At-Large races. Both of Buisson’s candidates were beaten thoroughly. It showed as proof that when Torres decides to throw his money around, people should take notice and watch out.
(The Orleans effect: there was none. Torres already “effected” the city when he got mayor Cantrell to pay him double for half the work Metro was doing as the city’s primary trash contractor.)
- Voter turnout
This has been a perpetual problem. As usual, less than half of eligible voters turned out. For the governor’s race and other statewide races, turnout hovered between 33-35%. It’s probably in name only, but Democrats still hold a 151,000 voter advantage in this state. That wouldn’t have helped them in the Governor’s or Lieutenant Governor’s race, where Jeff Landry and Billy Nungesser won by 272,000 and 467,000 respectively. But other races like Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer are all headed to run offs with a Democrat pared against a Republican. And that brings us to…
- The State Democratic Party
Outside of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Party just doesn’t really have a presence in the state. If the runoffs go as planned, they’ll be zero Democrats holding statewide offices once Edwards is done with his term. And they’ll be zero candidates on the horizon who could actually challenge for office. In these post-Trump years, the sledding has been rough on the statewide level for Democrats in Louisiana.
Election Winners And Losers
- Orleans Parish Voters
There was only a 27% turnout in Orleans Parish. In a race that determined the next governor, only 71,000 of the 264,000 eligible voters bothered to show up. And that was with a black Democrat on the ballot. Yes, Shawn Wilson won Orleans with 71%. But when you break it down, more people decided to stay home rather than vote for him. For a city that constantly complains about carrying the financial weight of the state, that’s a pretty anemic showing of political power.
In other news, Rep. Mandie Landry easily held onto her seat. And Norris Henderson’s VOTE scored another victory by helping Leon Roche win the judge’s race for Criminal District Court Section I. Who knows, we might be on the cusp of another kingmaker.