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.
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.