The Command Post
2004 US Presidential Election: Louisiana

November 03, 2004

Not So Fast

Democrat Chris John is holding a press conference at 9:00AM today at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans. It’s expected that he will challenge the results of yesterday’s tally which gave the Senate contest to Republican David Vitter.

Posted by John Dias at 07:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vitter Declared Winner by BR News Outlet

Baton Rouge TV news station, WBRZ, has declared David Vitter (Rep) winner in the US Senate race here.

Posted by John Dias at 12:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baton Rouge Elects First Black Mayor

Melvin L. “Kip” Holden (Dem), beat out incumbent Bobby Simpson to become the first black mayor of Baton Rouge, LA.

This was Holden’s second attempt to best Simpson, having lost four years ago. A special interest group, BRNext, launched an anti-Simpson campaign that was believed to have aided Holden’s efforts by allowing him to run a positive race while BRNext promoted a negative image of Simpson’s administration.

Posted by John Dias at 12:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

And Now We Wait....

Here’s a visual courtesy of GCR & Associates:

US Senator_Orleans_223404.jpg

The gray area is pretty much the City of New Orleans, home to many DNC faithful - both dead and alive. If Vitter can survive the count here, he’s got it made. If not, it’s to a run-off with Democrat Chris John and a likely a loss (recall the Mary Landreau election?).

New Orleans precincts are typically very slow to come in…

Posted by John Dias at 11:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Orleans Parish Votes Eroding Vitter's 50+1

With about half of the Democratic stronghold of Orleans Parish reporting in, Vitter is still above the 50+1 mark needed to avoid a run-off with Chris John.

Vitter, if elected, will be the first Republican Senator in Louisiana’s history.

Posted by John Dias at 11:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vitter Holding Fast to >50% Lead

With 55% of precincts reporting, David Vitter is holding fast to his lead to win outright tonight with 54% of the vote.

WBRZ TV in Baton Rouge just called the race for Congressional candidates Bobby Jindal -R and Richard Baker -R(incumbent).

Posted by John Dias at 10:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Clear Winners and Run-Off Matchups

1st Congressional District 31% Reporting -

CLEAR WINNER
Bobby Jindal, Republican - 75%

3rd Congressional District 43% Reporting -

RUNOFF
Billy Tauzin, Republican - 30%
Charlie Melancon, Democrat - 30%

5th Congressional District 50% Reporting -

CLEAR WINNER
Rodney Alexander, Republican - 60%

6th Congressional District 62% Reporting -

CLEAR WINNER
Richard Baker, Republican - 77%

Posted by John Dias at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Louisiana House and Senate Races

Senate – 11% reporting
David Vitter, R – 52%
Chris John, D – 31%
John Kennedy, D – 13%

5th Congressional District – 9% reporting
Rodney Alexander, R - 65%
Zelma “Tisa” Blakes, D – 21%
John W. “Jock” Scott, R – 15%

3rd Congressional District - 14% reporting
W.J. “Billy” Tauzin, III R – 34%
Craig Romero, R – 21%
“Charlie” Melancon, D – 26%

6th Congressional District - 7% reporting
Richard Baker, R – 78%

Posted by John Dias at 09:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vitter May Escape Run Off

With over 5% of precincts reporting:

David Vitter (Rep) - 48%
Chris John (Dem) - 32%
John Kennedy (Dem) - 15%

Posted by John Dias at 09:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

CNN: LA Goes To Bush

The cajun state gives its 9 EVs to GWB … there are now 164 for Bush and 112 for Kerry.

Posted by Alan at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

VERY Early Louisiana Results

With only 13 precincts (of 4124) reporting (I know, I know - I’m just too excited), Vitter has 56% of the vote.

If Vitter (Republican) can get 50% plus 1 vote, he’ll be in the Senate without a run-off, robbing the DNC of a seat in the balance.

Posted by John Dias at 08:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No troubles near Shreveport

Shreveport, Louisiana is located in the Northwest corner of the state. Just like most southern states, it has a large minority population (around 33 percent according to the Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/22000.html), and it has a substantial military population because Barksdale AFB is just across the river in Bossier City.

I went to vote at the middle school in Benton, LA, a nearby suburb north of the city. I arrived there around 9 am, hoping to miss the pre-work and post-work crowds as well as trying to dodge any possible lunch lines. I brought my Sony P10 in the off chance I could provide some Michael Moore-like expose’ on voter suppression and/or intimidation. However, there just wasn’t any to record…depending upon how you define such things.

It was drizzling when I pulled into the parking lot, which was about half full of cars and trucks. I could see a line had formed at one of the two front entrances, but fortunately it only contained about 15 people. I took my place in line and chatted casually with the lady in front of me and the man behind me, primarily about the rivalry between Oklahoma University (my alma mater) and Louisiana State (and if you don’t recall, OU got handily trounced by LSU at the end of last season, but OU is making up for it this year).

After about ten minutes, a lady came out of the school and said, “Is anyone from (my subdivision)?” I responded along with about six others, and she said, “You can come in this way.” My group cut through and we found the right place for us to vote. Evidently we were supposesd to go through the OTHER front entrance, which they said was marked with a sign but I wasn’t the only one who missed it.

There were two voting machines, the archaic mechanical sort that I’d never used before, and there was a table of four friendly people sitting there to take my name. I gave one of them my voter ID card and my driver’s licence, and sure enough, I was on the list…and she let everyone in the line know by saying my first, middle, and last name out loud at least five times. I felt a twinge of embarrassment and briefly wondered if someone would feel ‘intimidated’ by this act, but it was over too fast for me to take a picture of anything. I then shrugged off the embarrassment I felt by hearing my silly middle name being announced to a roomful of strangers and proceeded to the booth.

As I said, I’ve never used a machine like this before, and no one had offered any explanation as to its use. Could this be considered another attempt at intimidation? To make me feel stupid by requiring I ask for help? It is possible some people would categorize it as such. But I didn’t. I just closed the curtain, figured out which switches to flip, and opened the curtain to log my vote. Pretty painless, and incredibly easy for this novice to master.

As I left, I did find the sign that was supposed to guide me to the proper poll. It was about the size of a small yard sign, and the precinct number (which, incidentally, was spelled ‘precint’) was written even smaller. How could I have missed it?

I then got back in my car and drove home in the light rain.

And, on ABC radio just now, it’s been reported that Louisiana and its 9 electoral votes has been called for George Bush.

Evidently, the archaic machines work.

Posted by B. Beck at 08:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Final Senate Race Poll Numbers

PoliticsLA has the last Verne Kennedy poll numbers through Monday night for the US Senate race in Louisiana.

(3 nights of a 200 sample with a 400 sample Monday night.)

US Senate:
Vitter 49%
John 19%
Kennedy 15 %
Morrell 3%
Undecided 14%

-If the black vote stays at 27% of the total vote cast, Vitter can win in the primary - otherwise, there will be a run-off.

- Kennedy can make the runoff if he receives 50% of the black vote. Poll results show Kennedy leading John 30% to 27 %.

Polls close here at 8:00PM.

Posted by John Dias at 07:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eye-witness Blogging on Machine Problems

From the last update here.

Read the account here. The short version is that our blogger says he showed up right when the precinct opened, and the machines were broken and did not get fixed for a couple of hours. In my polling place, there were three machines, but in some areas there is only one, so a broken machine doesn’t just mean long lines, it means no votes.

I didn’t ever get as far east as Louisiana Pkwy, but in the poor black areas I saw the poll workers denied any machine problems. Just don’t take the preceding as any kind of denial that some machines were broken.

Posted by Sobek at 07:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heavy rain, little cooperation, and a tight race for Vitter

I keep hearing on the radio about long lines throughout the state. But in Metairie (New Orleans suburb), the line was down to 20 by 1:00 pm, and down to less than 10 by 3:30. Friends of mine in New Orleans tell me that turn-out was very low in some of the poor precincts. I went to check it out myself, and a) there was practically no one there, and b) it had just started pouring rain.

The people working the polls were very unhelpful. They were very suspicious, gave short answers, and refused to answer after a couple of questions. I also suspect they weren’t telling me the truth, because they said they’ve been busy all day (contra what my friends have been telling me, and contra what I saw with my own eyes).

Coffee enthusiast Shelley Miller writes, “Voted at 7:30 this morning then went for coffee - and the voting line was shorter than Starbucks!!!” There you go.

Posted by Sobek at 06:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Election Day Experience

From one of my readers/contributors:

Report from Precint 307—Covington, LA

Arrived at polling place at 7:50am. Line was long, but moved pretty steadily, but crowd continued to add to back of line at roughly same pace.

Shortly before getting near front of line a heavy set woman approached me and asked, “who do I see about people breaking in line?” I responded, “Beats me”. Then, she proceeded to say, “well, I’m a poll worker so I should know”.

In an all white Republican stronghold that I live in, it’s sometimes difficult to pick out the Democrats. But with that semi-conversation, I think I found one.

After her contradictory statement to me, she walked in the door, interrupted poll workers to demand who would handle this for her. After being told to call the Sheriff’s Office if it was that important, a poll worker finally got up from her busy work and walked outside with the irate woman. The woman identified the guy by pointing, like she was Donald Sutherland in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. She declined to accompany it with a high pitched wail.

The guy, whose friend or family had apparently let him cut, calmly walked to the back of the line.

In the time it took all this transpire, 3 or 4 people could’ve voted, thus taking longer than if the woman would’ve just kept her mouth shut and let this guy vote.

I think I was disenfranchised.

Incidentally, I finally voted at 8:45. So it took 55 minutes. Not bad.

Posted by John Dias at 05:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Former Gov. Edwards to Stump for Dems in La. Prison

Satire

Edwin Edwards, Louisiana’s former governor currently serving time on a federal conviction, was moved from the Fort Worth facility where he began serving time in 2001, to the federal prision in Oakdale, Louisiana this week.

A spokesman for the DNC said they had lobbied to have the colorful and still politically influential Edwards moved back to Louisiana in time for him to do some last minute stumping for Sen. Kerry’s bid for the nation’s chief executive, but more importantly, “To help force David Vitter into a run-off with Chris John.”

Edwards will be visiting fellow prisoners today, handing out provisional ballots and cigarettes.

In his typical dead-pan style, Edwards quipped, “This brings a whole new meaning to the old political term of ‘pressing the flesh.’”

(Cross-posted at Cornpone)

Posted by John Dias at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Long Lines and Nasty (?) Weather

Commenters at my blog from various places around the state confirm expectedly heavy voter turnout. No updates yet on alleged voting machine fiascoes.

More below:

Commenter James Hood, from northern Louisiana (Shreveport area) says Chris John (D) has failed to run an effective campaign up there. You might not care about Louisiana presidential politics, but the Senate race is a very big deal after the retirement this year of Sen. Tauzin (D) and David Vitter’s ® very realistic chance of taking over. Hood predicts that John’s failure to connect, lack of support among blacks, and rainfall in that part of the state, all contribute to make it more likely that Vitter will win without a runoff. If there is a runoff, Vitter’s chances decrease dramatically.

Long lines in Baton Rouge, according to commenter Mjkearns.

100 people in line in St. Tammany Parish at 6:15 in the morning, according to commenter jb1954.

Posted by Aaron D. Christensen at 12:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Voting Problems Reported In New Orleans

The Baton Rouge Advocate is reporting several problems at polling places throughout New Orleans.

Bill Quigley, an attorney working with the NAACP and other civil rights groups, told the Associated Press that he had reports of at least 11 precincts in Orleans Parish with at least one voting machine broken, along with four others in suburban Jefferson Parish.

WWL television in New Orleans said viewers had called in reports of at more than 20 precincts in and around New Orleans, problems ranging from broken machines to a lack of provisional ballots for people whose registrations are in question.

Storms continue to worsen in the southern part of the state, with a possible tornado in Houma (reported by WIBR radio) and flash flooding expected due to heavy rains.

Posted by John Dias at 12:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Louisiana Report

Find my Louisiana reporting (based on news radio and personal observations) here. More to come…

Posted by Sobek at 11:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Military Vote Problems Reported

Radio talk host Moon Griffon reported on his statewide show this morning that he has received reports from some Louisiana citizens deployed for military service in Afghanistan and Iraq claiming that absentee ballots they received only showed the statewide amendments up for vote. These ballots did not contain presidential or congressional races.

Posted by John Dias at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Eaerly Morning Update

Most everyone believes that Louisiana is in the bag for Bush, but as many as eight or nine percentage points. But it may still become an interesting race because of a scandal with voting machines that erupted during the Sept. 18 vote for, among other things, the state’s Gay Marriage Amendment. Despite Secretary of State Fox McKeithen’s reassurances in the wake of the Sept. 18 problems, WTIX radio is already reporting that some voting machines haven’t arrived, and some don’t work. That’s the kind of nonsense that causes lawsuits.

More below…

Forcasts called for rain today, but we have a surprisingly cloudless day. It’s also insanely hot and humid (after walking outside for less than 30 minutes, I was soaked in sweat).

The weather has not affected voter turn-out at all. WTIX reports record turn-outs and very long lines already. At my polling place (where I did not have time to vote, because of morning classes), there were about sixty people in line at 7:25 a.m. The lady running the polling place told me that the number of voters is unsurprising, because our precinct typically votes well.

More information on my blog, here, which I will be updating throughout the day. I’ll just link from here (to avoid repetition, and to milk the sweet, sweet traffic).

Posted by Sobek at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Early Morning Update

Most everyone believes that Louisiana is in the bag for Bush, but as many as eight or nine percentage points. But it may still become an interesting race because of a scandal with voting machines that erupted during the Sept. 18 vote for, among other things, the state’s Gay Marriage Amendment. Despite Secretary of State Fox McKeithen’s reassurances in the wake of the Sept. 18 problems, WTIX radio is already reporting that some voting machines haven’t arrived, and some don’t work. That’s the kind of nonsense that causes lawsuits.

More below…

Forecasts called for rain today, but we have a surprisingly cloudless day. It’s also insanely hot and humid (after walking outside for less than 30 minutes, I was soaked in sweat).

The weather has not affected voter turn-out at all. WTIX reports record turn-outs and very long lines already. At my polling place (where I did not have time to vote, because of morning classes), there were about sixty people in line at 7:25 a.m. The lady running the polling place told me that the number of voters is unsurprising, because our precinct typically votes well.

More information on my blog, here, which I will be updating throughout the day. I’ll just link from here (to avoid repetition, and to milk the sweet, sweet traffic).

Posted by Sobek at 10:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Long Lines, Few Problems, Rain May Dampen Turnout

Personal reports here in Louisiana are indicating long waits this morning between 30 to 45 minutes. Only one voter has reported to me a problem with voting machines not working in her precinct, although this was not holding up voters in her polling place.

An on the spot report from one of my blog readers:

Heavy turnout in St. Tammany [suburbs north of New Orleans] precinct where I am registered. I was the 63rd person to vote in one of the two precincts and I was there at 6:15 am. The wait was approximately 30 minutes already! They pulled one person for address confirmation and she had to fill out a form before voting. I also noticed absentee written on the signature lines of some voters. Identification was required. It seems to me that the “corrupt” state of Louisiana has things under control. The last time I voted in September in the middle of a Saturday I was the only person in the polling place. As St. Tammany is a RED parish, I predict HIGH Republican turnout if this is any indication.

And another reader reports:

The Lovely and Talented Mrs. C voted at 6am. She waited 45 minutes and voted straight GOP ticket, except where a Republican wasn’t running. I’ll be voting around 9 or 10.

My own wife called in a report that turnout at our location was heavy with lines out of the door. We’ve never had that before.

Thunderstorms are expected to hit Baton Rouge later this morning and move towards New Orleans. It’s clear now, and lines are out the door at many locations but heavy rain could discourage voters later today.

Posted by John Dias at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Election Day - Rainy Day

Voters in Louisiana will be dodging rain and lightning if they want to make it to the polls today.

State officials are still predicting a high turnout, however, with some estimates reaching 75% voter participation. Polls opened at 6:00AM and will close tonight at 8:00PM.

Posted by John Dias at 07:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Moronski predicts...the Senate

Today in political punditry from Sean Moronski, he casts an eye over the US Senate races.

Every two years, approximately one-third of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs.  Currently, the GOP has 51 seats to the Dems 49 (including the so-called “independent” from Vermont).  In addition to help shape legislation and policy, this body is responsible for granting consent to judges, cabinet members, and other Federal officials.  Given the potential for several Supreme Court appointments over the next several years, control of this chamber may shape the Federal Judiciary for the next generation.

Almost every political observer believes the parties will swap seats in Georgia (to GOP) and Illinois (Dems win).  Putting aside the non-competitive races, there are eight races that will determine control of the Senate - four in the South and four west of the Mississippi in GOP country.  Of these seats, five are held by Democrats and three by Republicans.

North Carolina.  John Edwards chose to run for Vice President rather than face almost certain defeat facing reelection.  The Dem nominee is Erskine Bowles, former Clinton Chief of Staff, who lost a tough fight in 2002 to Elizabeth Dole.  U.S. Rep. Richard Burr has the GOP nod.  Bowles had a solid lead for weeks, but the race has closed to even in this solidly pro-Bush state. 

South Carolina. After 36 years of serving as Strom Thurmond’s junior Senator, Ernest Hollings is calling it quits.  Republicans nominated U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint while the Dems are running State Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum.  DeMint is running as a big Bush backer in this hardcore GOP state while Tenenbaum is downplaying any connection to Kerry or the national Democrat party.  Probably a good strategy in a state Bush won’t lose.

Florida.  Another prominent Democrat, Bob Graham, decided to call it a career.  The White House asked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez to run.  The Dem nominee is former State Education official Betty Castor.  This big race has been the sideshow in the media’s non-stop examination of the Presidential race here.  

Louisiana.  The wildest of wild cards with a unique open primary system that send the top two finishers regardless of party to a December runoff if no one candidate gets 50% plus one vote on Election Day.  GOP candidate U.S. Rep. David Vitter is virtually assured of making the runoff, polling in the low to mid-40s.  The race here is whether the national Democrats can prevent him from winning outright on November 2, as well as what Democrat would make a runoff.  Louisiana has never elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate, nor has one served from there since Reconstruction. 

South Dakota.  Major race in a state with fewer than 800,000 people.  Home of Senate Democrat leader Tom Daschle, promoting his role as provider of Federal largesse instead of being Bush’s chief opposition in Washington.  Not unwise given that Bush is likely to win this state by at least 15 to 20 points.  His GOP opponent, former U.S. Rep. John Thune, lost a Senate seat here in 2002 by fewer than 600 votes.

Oklahoma.  Surprise GOP retirement opened up safe seat in a sure Bush state.  The GOP nominee, former U.S. Rep Tom Coburn, an obstetrician and anti-GOP establishment type, has made every mistake he can to turn a potential 25 to 30 point Bush lead into a horserace against the state’s lone Democrat congressman, Brad Carson.

Colorado.  Another GOP retirement put this seat in play.  Democrats nominated State Attorney General Ken Salazar while the Republicans are going with Pete Coors (“cold filtered… not heat pasteurized”).  Yes, that Coors.  Rocky Mountain Cold.

Alaska.  In a word — nepotism.  After being elected, new Governor Frank Murkowski had to appoint a successor to the U.S. Senate seat he vacated.  Of course he chose his daughter Lisa, a state senator.  This boneheaded move did the near impossible, creating a competitive U.S. Senate race in Alaska.  The Dem nominee is former two-term governor Tony Knowles.  This state has no business having a competitve statewide race in a presidential election year where Bush will win by 20+ points.

Bottom line… Dems must win 7 of the 8 races to gain control, or 6 if Kerry wins and Edwards can make himself useful and break ties.  All of these states were won by Bush in 2000, seven of them convincingly.  It can go either way… predictions next week.  

Sean is a former YR Chairman and political hack that successfully domesticated himself recently. His keen eye for politics has not waned as yet.

Posted by Andrew Ian Dodge at 06:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

Weekend Poll Has Vitter In Runoff

A poll taken over the weekend by Verne Kennedy shows US Representative David Vitter holding at 48% in the race for John Breaux’s Senate seat. WBRZ of Baton Rouge reports:

A new Verne Kennedy poll taken over the weekend indicated Vitter may be faced into a runoff despite a commanding lead. The poll shows Vitter holding 48 percent of the vote, two points shy of the required 50 percent-plus he needs to avoid a runoff.
Posted by John Dias at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Clear Winner Until Turkey Day

Louisiana Secretary of State Fox McKeithen said this afternoon on a Baton Rouge talk show that he believed that a winner in the Presidential contest would not be determined until Thanksgiving, possibly later. McKeithen called the provisional ballot a “mess” and said the legislation was ill advised and problematic.

McKeithen also reported on the Ed Buggs Show on WIBR radio that all voting machines throughout the state had been delivered and were ready a full five hours before the scheduled deadline today.

Posted by John Dias at 06:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Last Minute Party Switch Won't Harm Alexander's Bid

US Rep. Rodney Alexander, seeking reelection to his 5th Congressional District seat, changed party affiliations at the last hour during qualification. His jump from Democrat to Republican is not likely to hurt his chances and he is predicted to easily win on Tuesday against his opponents. According to a story in The Advocate:

The 5th District has been one of the poorest regions in the nation since Reconstruction. Largely Democratic but rural and Protestant, this part of the Bible Belt is ardently pro-guns, anti-abortion and against gay marriage.
“We’re Democrats who vote on moral and social issues,” [state Rep. Francis] Thompson [D - Delhi] said. “We’re switching parties all the time.”

Controversy abounds about money Alexander raised while campaigning as a Democrat:

During that crucial first 10 weeks of the campaign, when he and [Republican challenger Jock] Scott were roughly equal in fund-raising, Alexander relied on $890,000 contributed by traditional Democratic Party allies, such as organized labor and trial lawyers.
Alexander used that money to buy the commercials, the mail-outs and the opinion polls his challengers could not afford, the FEC records showed.
Alexander repeatedly has promised to return Democratic donations. But as of Oct. 13, the latest records available, Alexander had returned only $6,800 out of the $1 million raised before he switched parties.
Posted by John Dias at 01:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

La. Black Republicans Launch Last Minute Web Effort

According to Steve Sabludowsky as posted at BayouBuzz.com, the P.B.S. Pinchback Society, a.k.a. Louisiana’s Black Republican Council launched this website on Saturday showing why George W. Bush is the better choice for black voters. Check out their “10 Good Reasons for Black Americans to Vote for George W. Bush” list.

Posted by John Dias at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Will Vitter Escape Run-Off?

While Louisiana’s 9 electoral votes look to be a lock for President George W. Bush at this point, there are many exciting Senate and House races that we’ll be watching here in the Bayou State.

At the top of the list is the fight for retiring Senator John Breaux’s (D) seat. The leading contender, Republican Rep. David Vitter, has been the statistical favorite for some time now and as of Saturday morning’s polling he held 47% percent of the vote, according to PoliticsLA.com. His closest challenger, Rep. Chris John (D), polled at 21%. Vitter backers are hoping for a majority win tomorrow to avoid a runoff with John. With the Democratic vote fractured three ways, the DNC has been running anti-Vitter ads in an attempt to keep him from winning outright and forcing a two-way contest with John.

Posted by John Dias at 07:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack