More than 340,000 people voted early, nearly 12 percent of Louisiana’s 2.9 million registered voters.
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.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 22, 2014:
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand:
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.