News -> News MON, NOV 5 10:16AM by Melinda Deslatte, Associated Press
High turnout expected in La. for Tuesday election
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana candidates seeking to rally an election victory were spending their final days before Tuesday attending football tailgates and festivals, waving signs on street corners and making last rounds of phone calls to pitch themselves to voters.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler expects a strong turnout on Election Day, after a record number of voters cast their ballots ahead of time during the weeklong early voting period. More than 340,000 people voted early, nearly 12 percent of Louisiana’s 2.9 million registered voters.
“We look at it is an indication of how many people will vote on Election Day,” says Meg Casper, a spokeswoman for Schedler.
At the top of the ticket is the contest between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Louisiana’s outcome has been expected to be a certain victory for Romney in the Republican-leaning state, so GOP and Democratic volunteers have been asked to travel to swing states to campaign for their candidates there.
In addition to the presidential race, also on the ballot are six congressional races, nine constitutional amendments, judgeships and local contests around the state. A seat on the state’s utility regulatory agency, the Public Service Commission, is up for grabs, along with an open Louisiana Supreme Court seat representing the Baton Rouge area.
The outcome of most of the state’s U.S. House races seemed to have been decided in August, when few well-financed challengers signed up to oppose Louisiana’s incumbent congressmen.
Republican U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise of Metairie, John Fleming of Minden, Rodney Alexander of Quitman and Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge have faced little opposition from their challengers and have had to spend little from their campaign war chests, sticking to town hall meetings and mailers rather than widespread TV advertising.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans also has had little organized opposition, even though Richmond’s district has taken on a noticeably different shape, moving all the way up the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge after the latest redesign of the state’s congressional districts.
The only Louisiana congressional race to involve big spending and strong competition is in the 3rd District covering southwest Louisiana and Acadiana. No matter the outcome, an incumbent congressman will lose his seat.
Republican incumbents Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry were forced into the same district when the state lost a congressional seat after the latest federal census, and the face-off has been a bitter battle laden with attack ads and accusations of lies and dirty tactics.
The two congressmen are trying to stake out much the same philosophical territory, both running as conservatives, leaving them to distinguish themselves largely by slamming each other. Landry is running as the tea party favorite, while Boustany is considered a more traditional Republican candidate.
Landry calls his opponent an example of what’s broken about Washington, claiming Boustany votes with the positions of the national GOP and House Speaker John Boehner over the needs of his district.
“It’s a culture of making promises and not delivering,” Landry said at a recent debate with Boustany. “I don’t do what our leadership in Washington tells me or what the Republican Party tells me.”
Boustany charges that his opponent habitually skips votes and attacks Boustany to distract voters from his lack of accomplishments during his one term in Washington. He said Landry plays political games rather than working on legislation.
“He says he wants to do the work. He should at least show up,” Boustany said.
The design of the district favors Boustany, but Landry has worked to assemble grassroots support and local GOP endorsements, making the 3rd District race a tight contest.
Three other candidates are seeking the seat, but they’ve done little fundraising for their campaigns and little advertising. However, Democratic trial lawyer Ron Richard is expected to siphon off Democratic votes and could push the campaign into a Dec. 8 runoff.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.