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Here's the report on this matter from the AP

Louisiana will hold elections for congressional seats next month, just as it does every two years. But these elections probably will be the last of their kind.

A new state law means Louisiana is letting go of its free-for-all, nonpartisan open elections, at least in races for the U.S. Senate and House. Barring an unexpected objection from the U.S. Justice Department -- which maintains a 40-year-old oversight of elections in the South -- Louisiana will shift to closed, party primaries for all federal elections beginning next year.


In 2008, the system will be different. The incumbent and challengers will run in their respective party primaries in September. If one or both parties lacks a front-runner with a majority of votes, closed party runoff elections will follow in October.

The winners of those party primaries -- plus independents and third-party candidates -- will run in a winner-take-all election in November

What does this mean for Louisiana and in general? (answers under the fold)

1. The Jefferson/Carter runoff will be the last Congressional runoff in Louisiana History (for now).

2. Mary Landrieu could benefit again from a divided Republican Party. Especially if they go to an October runoff. October runoffs for a U.S. Senate race are basically murder for challengers.

3. The Congressional elections will change slightly for the Democrats.

Let's take a look at the voter registration numbers

Statewide: 55% of voters are registered Democrats, 25% are registered Republicans, 20% are registered Independents.

Democrats hold majorities or pluralities in registration in 63 of 64 parishes.

In 2010, we're going to see the closed primary make a statewide impact when it comes time to pick someone to face Vitter.

For Congressional Districts:

Dems have a plurality in registration in CD-1 (Jindal), which doesn't do them one bit of good.

They have their highest percentage in CD-2 (Jefferson) and their second highest in CD-3 (Melancon). The third highest is in CD-5 (Alexander).

So, here's a district by district primary impact report.

CD-1: This is probably going to be a pretty low turnout primary. 75% of registered Dems in this district are white, but 36% of whites are registered Dems here. This could bump Jindal's November percentages down to 82%. Basically Livingston, Vitter, and Jindal have a tradition of blowouts here. Saint Tammany Parish is the only one that has a Republican plurality in registration.

CD-2: There's a much longer post on Katrina and all that. But basically if Jefferson makes it though this year, it will be due to more conservative voters, and in a closed primary, Jefferson will be in a lot of trouble. 75% of registered Democrats are African-American though.

CD-3: Future challengers to Melancon will probably endure a few October bloodbaths. When Melancon retires, who knows how the turnout will influence the next nominee. Romero only carried Iberia Parish this year.

CD-4: Democrats have a 53/27 advantage in registration. But 52% of registered Dems are white and 46% of registered Dems are African-American. So the odds suggest that the next nominee to face McCrery will probably come out of Shreveport, or will have African-American support in some other way.

CD-5: It's been 2 years since Rodney Alexander switched, and Dems still can't get enough traction to go for him. The registration edge is 57/24, which is enough to carry Pointe Coupee Parish. The racial split amongst LA-5 Democrats is 55/44 white. Granted, the majority of primary voters will probably be African-American.

CD-6: I can't understand how Richard Baker was unopposed this year. The Democrats have another narrow split where 52% of Dems are White and 46% are African-American. Granted, an actual candidate would be nice.

CD-7: Mike Stagg just got clobbered this year. As well, two-thirds of Democrats here are white. But, if they don't bother to put up a real candidate against Boustany, they won't improve any. There's probably not any big changes due for this district.

So basically, the dynamics will change enough that a candidate will get two months to campaign for an actual general election. As well, there'll be no runoffs in December, which improves the hand of spoiler candidates.

At the very least, when LA-4 and LA-5 open up, or there's a good year, expect a new kind of hard-fought primary.

And when Landrieu comes up, expect her to have an easier time when the top two Republicans are having to run against each other in a runoff in October.

It's a gain for Landrieu, and maybe a gain for State Dems in general.

Originally posted to RBH on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:37 PM PST.


Louisiana switching from their current primary system to a closed primary system, do you approve or disapprove of this change?

61%16 votes
38%10 votes

| 26 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Bucket (11+ / 0-)

    Hey, this could be semi-interesting, right?

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:34:07 PM PST

    •  Very interesting (0+ / 0-)

      I heard this is taking effect soon; will it affect the '07 Governor race?

      It's intriguing because my whole life Louisiana has been doing it this unique way. It's more complicated than the traditional alternative, but it makes Louisiana elections into December cliffhangers and allows the state to get dollars poured into it from around the country after November.

      I think the LA-2 race may have been quite different in the primary system. Karen Carter would have defeated Jefferson in the primary and gone on to cruise in November. This current way, it wasn't even sure whether Jefferson would face off against a fellow Democrat.

      But still, it's kinda sad. Louisiana was always different this way. It was a nice tradition. And it was one way that the strongest candidates could runoff in December, instead of one from each party. See LA-2 in 1990, when Marc Morial and Bill Jefferson faced off in December. Or LA-7 in 1996, which was actually a Democratic pickup -- Jimmy Hayes had become a Republican in 1995 to join the Gingrich majority, then retired in '96; and in the runoff both candidates were Democrats, Hunter Lundy and Chris John. This sort of thing allows for a party that didn't make the runoff to coalesce around one of the two candidates, and makes things more interesting and nonpartisan.

      Anyway, when is the Louisiana primary going to be? I heard September. Is it going to join Florida in the first week of September, or a lot of states in the second week, or even Massachusetts in the third week?

      Current House tally: 230 Democrats, 196 Republicans; 9 undecided

      by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:42:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not going to effect state elections (0+ / 0-)

        The 2007 election will still be held under the usual Louisiana Primary system.

        "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

        by RBH on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:44:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh, only federal? (0+ / 0-)

          Okay then. Still interesting.

          Current House tally: 230 Democrats, 196 Republicans; 9 undecided

          by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:45:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nathaniel Ament Stone

            Louisiana's primary system now has four parts

            For Statewide elections, The last closed Primary elections in Louisiana were held in 1972.

            For Congressional elections, The last closed Primary elections in Louisiana were held in 1976.

            The reason for the current system was because Edwin Edwards wanted to "level" the playing field between Democrats and Republicans. In other words, Edwin had three tough elections, a primary, runoff, and a general election. And Republicans didn't have that.

            So he basically slanted the table towards the Democrats. Treen only got to be Governor due to splits in the party. Edwards won easily in 1983. Roemer won as a Democrat in 1987. Edwards beat David Duke in 1991.

            David Duke is also a creature of the Louisiana system, as he was probably boasted by registered Democrats. Basically Duke wouldn't have won a closed Republican or Democratic Primary in 1991.

            So anyways, back to Congressional elections.

            From 1978 to 1996, the primary was held in September and the runoff was held in November.

            This ended when the Supreme Court (or a federal court, I forget which) ruled that illegal since federal law requires all elections to be held on the same day, and the Louisiana system had like 90% of primaries producing a majority.

            So they just moved the primary to November.

            Landrieu gets to go from being one Democrat in a field facing a stronger Republican (in 1996) to being the strong Dem facing one Republican in a field (in 2002) to raising a lot of money and watching Republicans beat each other silly until October.

            Granted, if Jindal runs, then I doubt the Republicans will respond kindly to someone else running in the primary. They would want to give Jindal at least two months of campaigning before Landrieu reminds voters how Jindal cut health care in Northern Louisiana (which Blanco reminded voters of in 2003).

            "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

            by RBH on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:53:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Your registration numbers are similar (0+ / 0-)

    to Maryland's - D 55%, R 29%, I 17%, the rest is others.

    Maryland is considered to be a Dem state.

  •  Sad to see this system go (0+ / 0-)

    I think it would be interesting if more states adopted such a model. For DC related travel advice, please visit that link.

    by jiacinto on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 06:54:17 PM PST

    •  Well it might make people like Jefferson easier (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to get rid of actually.  The party cross-over effect isn't a good one.  You have Republicans who cross over to try and get your worst guy or gal on your ticket so that your vote is suppressed.  I don't understand why you'd want someone from the opposition party to be able to determine who you'll have to vote for if you stick with your party in a primary.  It is sort of like having FOX News Channel tell you that Hillary Clinton is going to be your presidential nominees - or more specifically Bill O'Reilley.

      I don't know if the primaries are open in New Orleans, but I would venture to guess that if they are, Nagin wouldn't have made the cut in this past election.  Nagin only ran as a Democrat in the first place because he couldn't have been a Republican in that town and won.

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Nagin wouldn't have won the first time without Republicans.

        He probably would have won earlier this year without them.

        Odd system, isn't it? ;)

        "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

        by RBH on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 07:07:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I still wonder if his winning this time around (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          had to do with a GOP vote for failure.  I understand perfectly well the dynamic of having a nationally hated mayor and having him re-elected - DC and Marion Barry here...  By the time all that happended with Barry, I wasn't living in DC, but I would have voted for him partly because before he lost it he was one of the best mayors DC ever had because he wasn't willing to bow to Congress and partly because I thought it was BS that other people who didn't know diddly about our particular predicament in DC thought they knew what was good for us...

  •  it was a good system (0+ / 0-)

    at least in theory.  It allows to vote with your heart in the first round and with your mind in the second.  It is actually the French system -- not a demerit in Lousiana, and it has similar advantages to proportional representation.

    The way it actually works in Lousiana is a tad different from lofty theory.

  •  Landrieu is useless (0+ / 0-)

    Use this new law to defeat her in a primary so we can run a real Democrat.  She's a Bush sycophant, and Dem victories in VA and MT suggest that Democrats no longer need to have Bush's shit on the ends of their noses to win in red states.

    Get her out of there in the primary or the Repukes will flatten her in the general.

    I support Wes Clark 2008. ------------------------- Oh yeah, and FUCK Joe Lieberman.

    by asskicking annie on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:25:14 PM PST

    •  Sorry but she should be re-elected (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for threating to knock out the president on national television. Boy, that was great.

      •  She should be thrown under the bus (0+ / 0-)

        for backing Lieberfuck's independent bid after Holy Joe negligently waved Michael Brown through to confirmation.  Holy Joe's obsequious buttkissing of yet another incompetent Bush appointee resulted in the destruction of much of Landrieu's state.

        But when push came to shove, Landrieu had more loyalty to her fellow quisling than she did to her own state.  Regardless of what she might have said on that one evening, she has spent most of the last six years blowing the president, not punching his lights out.

        She is a rat, nothing more.

        I support Wes Clark 2008. ------------------------- Oh yeah, and FUCK Joe Lieberman.

        by asskicking annie on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 09:49:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We've got to Take A Stand (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans are licking their chops, salivating as they wait to turn Louisana Blood Red. DKos and others should get some real people power going in this state to stave off the impending attack. We've got to take their "southern strategy" and crush it into pulp. It would make me cry to see yet another southern state fall behind the red curtain. We can't let this happen to beautiful Louisana. The Dems may not be the best there, but as someone who seen their southern state overrun by Republicans, the alternative is far worse.

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