Following is a review of who’s who and what’s next in key Louisiana elections. As a reminder, all candidates in Louisiana run against each other in their respective primary regardless of party affiliation (i.e., we do not have partisan primaries). With the primaries over now, candidates who did not win outright will advance to runoffs, which will be decided on December 6th.
Three-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, and Cong. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, squared off in what was one of the hottest races in the state in some time. Sen. Landrieu picked up 42 percent of the vote while Cong. Cassidy received 41 percent. Rob Maness, a Republican who received heavy support from out-of-state Tea Party groups but was politically unknown, picked up 14 percent of the vote. Five other lesser-known candidates split the remaining points. It’s likely that if Maness dropped out of the race earlier this year it would’ve been decided last night in favor of Cong. Cassidy. However, the stage is now set for a runoff between Sen. Landrieu and Cong. Cassidy. Cong. Cassidy, a medical doctor, appears to be well positioned to win in a month, but a lot can happen over the coming weeks. This will be a fight to the finish.
Four of Louisiana’s incumbent congressmen were reelected by a wide margin. One first-term incumbent was soundly defeated and one seat was wide open due to Cong. Cassidy vacating his post in order to challenge Sen. Landrieu. Following is a brief snapshot of the results:
First District (Southeast LA / Greater NOLA / Metairie / Houma)
Incumbent Cong. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, coasted to reelection by picking up 78 percent of the vote.
Second District (NOLA metro / Small segment of north Baton Rouge)
Incumbent Cong. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, was reelected with 69 percent of the vote.
Third District (Southwest LA / Lafayette / Acadiana)
Incumbent Cong. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, received heavy support on his way to reelection. He received 79 percent of the vote.
Fourth District (Northwest LA / Shreveport)
Incumbent Cong. John Fleming, R-Shreveport, won reelection by picking up 73 of the vote.
Fifth District (Northeast LA / Monroe / Alexandria / Bogalusa)
In one of the two heavily crowded congressional races this fall, first-term incumbent Cong. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, failed to make a runoff after receiving only 11 percent of the vote. McAllister’s very short-lived tenure in Congress is attributed mostly to being dubbed “The Kissing Congressman” after getting caught on video kissing one of his staffers. Mayor Jamie Mayo, D-Monroe, was the lone Democrat in the race, and that paid off as he’s headed to the runoff after leading the field with 28 percent of the vote. Mayor Mayo will be joined in the runoff with Dr. Ralph Abraham, R-Mangham, who secured 23 percent of the vote. Dr. Abraham has never run for political office but enjoyed relatively wide name recognition throughout rural northeast Louisiana due to his large medical practice. One other political newcomer, Zach Dasher, R-West Monroe, emerged as a major player in this race. Dasher is the nephew of Duck Commander Phil Robertson; he nipped at Dr. Abraham’s heels, garnering 22 percent of the vote (1,860 votes separated Dasher and Abraham). Public Service Commissioner (and former Congressman) Clyde Holloway, R-Forest Hill, picked up 7 percent of the vote. A few other candidates split the remainder. Dr. Abraham will likely be favored to win the runoff.
Sixth District (Greater Baton Rouge / Livingston / Thibodaux)
The most crowded field of candidates (total of 12) in this fall’s election cycle was finally whittled down to two: Former four-term governor Edwin Edwards, D-Prairieville, and first-time candidate Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge. The two will duke it out for the seat vacated by Cong. Cassidy. The colorful 87 year old Edwards, who is admittedly happy to be free from federal prison, was the only well known Democrat in the race; he led the packed field with 30 percent of the vote. Graves, who has spent the past several years as the head of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, garnered 27 percent of the vote. Other major candidates in the race were grandson of former LSU football coach of the same name Paul Dietzel, R-Baton Rouge, state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, and state Rep. Lenar Whitney, R-Houma. Dietzel, a 28 year old, enjoyed incredible name recognition and picked up 14 percent of the vote; Sen. Claitor and Rep. Whitney received 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Graves is a heavy favorite to win the runoff in the increasingly conservative Sixth District.