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.
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
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.
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.