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Every State. Every race. Right here.

This is number 46 in a planned series of 50 entries between now and November, looking at each of the 50 states in terms of every race on that state's ticket--Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senate, House, State legislatures--the whole pot of gumbo! Special attention paid to identifying and promoting the most important contests per state.

Today we look at Louisiana. Join me for carnival in There’s Moreville, below...

This is Louisiana’s Congressional map:

Louisiana is a state unlike any other. Settled by the French, and by French-speaking transports from Canada who were originally callad "Acadians", later shortened to "Cajuns". The only state whose laws were taken from the Napoleonic code rather than the laws of England. A land with a lot of crawfish and hot peppers that developed America’s single most distinctive native cuisine.  A state whose musical traditions rival Tennessee’s, and where informal Zydeco, Jazz, Dixieland and blues bands can be found in every park and on every commercial streetcorner.

I put off this state until near the end of the series because it’s also the only state in the union where they aren’t even done with their primaries yet. My understanding is that their November election will have the runoffs and the final election will be decided December 6th, meaning that such districts as the 4th CD will suddenly have the spotlight for a month after the election as we put what remaining energy we have into further expanding our House majority by just one more.

Politically, Louisiana has been one of the more Democratic of the southern states, carried by Bill Clinton twice and by Jesse Jackson in some 1980s era primaries. Conventional wisdom divides the state’s population into about 1/3 black (solidly Democratic), about 1/3 non-Cajun white (most of them Baptist and Evangelical, and leaning heavily GOP), and 1/3 Cajun (who get to be kingmakers).

In late 2005, of course, Bush and Rove and McCain let out a whoop of joy as the levees broke and said, "Hooray! Louisiana will now be a Red State! Let the Motherf**ers drown!" Typical leadership from the Republican party.  They gleefully replaced New Orleans public housing with luxury condominiums for the rich and left hundreds of thousands of dispossessed African-Americans to be absorbed by Texas and other huge states where their votes would not be as meaningful as when New Orleans was the blue anchor of a swing state.  Following 2005, Republicans gained seats in both houses of the state legislature, and Governor Blanco, who had been viciously attacked by Republicans for failing to have the authority to summon Federal aid all by herself, retired rather than face Bobby "So Evil You Have To Love Him" Jindal.  Republicans loudly chanted their intent to take down Senator Landrieu in 2008, proclaimed it pretty much a done deal 18 months before the election, and the Broder Brigade, on cue, predicted inevitable doom, bad luck and extinction for the Democratic Party in Louisiana and nationwide, as usual.

(EDIT: Some people in comments have stated that the fucktards did NOT build luxury condos on the remains of NOLA Public Housing, except for maybe an iffy Donald Trump project, but that the big projects are being replaced with mixed housing. My source for my claim was Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, the main point of which was that the flood was seen as an excuse to eliminate the public housing and piratize the land. It may be that since the book was published, public financing dried up for the condos. Admiral Naismith regrets any errors.)

And hasn’t quite worked out that way. A lot of those dispossessed people seems to have settled down in other parts of Louisiana, where they might have an impact statewide. We won a special election to a Congressional seat that had been held by republicans for two decades. No Republican was found to run against Landrieu, and so they got a Democrat to switch parties (right about now, I imagine he’s sorry that he did). And of the four remaining House seats held by republicans, three of them have solid Democratic hopefuls with a real chance to win.

Heckuva job, Brown-nose!

BLOGS:  Daily Kingfish is a truly kickass blog, and one of the most prolific contributors to the MYDD Updates section. You can find up to date information on all the close races in the state here.

PRESIDENT:  The time to vigorously contest Louisiana has passed. Better to focus on Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia, any one of which would be the final nail (or set of nails) in McCain’s coffin.

SENATE:  Mary Landrieu (Inc D) v. John Kennedy (Former D).  There are 17 Republican-held Senate seats "on the map" this year, ranging from Mark Warner’s all but certain pickup in Virginia to Bob Tuke’s Hail-Mary pass in Tennessee. In contrast, Louisiana’s seat is the ONLY one that the Republicans have had much hope for this cycle, and as of this writing, it looks that it too has slipped out of their reach. Here’s a recent diary by Koster wemightbefamous that says "Stick a fork in it":

The junior Senator, Diaper Dave Vitter, is the only Republican to have been elected to the Senate from Louisiana since I was born (for all I know, the only one ever). Senator Poopypants and Jindal, however, were widely held up as harbingers of a new eagerness on the part of Louisiana voters to elect diaper-wearing Republicans, and landrieu was supposed to be in danger because, as the Republicans say, "HA-HA, we flooded out the blacks!". Didn’t work. Kennedy was a last-minute recruitment who was urged to pull a Rodney Alexander and switch parties, and who has since run a fairly dull campaign. Landrieu’s numbers keep on getting better.



Lower House: 53D, 49R, 2I, 1 vacant. Majority of 4

Senate: 23D, 16R. Majority 7

That’s a pretty slim margin in both houses, and given the proclivity of blue dogs to accept bribed to change parties, or even to vote for Republican leadership while remaining Democrats (What’s up with THAT? Giving up your own chance at a committee chair so that the Goopers won’t take your lunch money or something? Please, some native Louisiana Democrat give me a clue as to why anyone would do that. But please don’t tell Joe Lieberman; it might give him ideas), we’d better be very careful and work hard during the next off-year election cycle to keep these chambers in Democratic hands. LA will lose a Congressional seat in the next round, and we’ll have to fight to make it not be one of ours. They’d like nothing better than to put New orleans in Melancon’s district.


District 1—Jim Harlan (D) v. Steve Scalise (half-term incumbent). If Louisiana is a boot, this district is the toe, on the Mississippi border, and it’s the reddest district in Louisiana. Scalise won a special election after Bobby "Gee Whiz" Jindal became Governor, and is favored to get a full term this time around. However, we have two things going for us: one, the post-NOLA diaspora resulted in a high influx of Dem-voting African Americans to this district, and two, Harlan is self-funding and willing to spend what it takes to make an impact on the district. Polls show him closing an admittedly wide gap, and he’s only just now made it onto a few red-to-blue lists.  Can he close the gap completely by election time? You can make the difference!

And while I’m on the subject of this district, here’s a shout-out to Gilda Reed who, if Harlan pulls it off, will deserve some of the credit for having paved the way. Reed was our nominee in the post-Jindal special election early in the year, and in my opinion she ran the best possible campaign with nothing.  She was appealing, aggressive, tireless and unabashedly making the case for progressive reform in a district that evidently hadn’t heard the message. Plus, she was a strong netroots presence. Reed’s only negatives were completely outside her zone of control: the 6th district next door sucked all of the energy out of the 1st district, and both the DNC and the netroots completely abandoned her to concentrate on Cazayoux in the other special election. It was a harsh judgment call, and one that it’s hard to call wrong, exactly—Cazayoux did win a hard-fought battle in a traditionally GOP district, to great national effect, and he might not have if the resources had been divided between two districts. Still, the idealist in me says we could have done better by Reed. She’s the kind of person who deserves our thanks for stepping up to the plate against the odds, and we should nurture candidates like her, learn from their campaigns, and build on them. Otherwise you’ll find that the only candidates willing to run in the tough districts are those embarrassing perennial gadfly candidates who really don’t have a prayer and who sometimes hurt the party by making it look foolish.

Remember—in the "hopeless" districts, you win by keeping the GOP margins below what they were the last time. Do that often enough and the day comes when you win the district.

In the interests of nostalgia, here's the bio of Gilda from her old campaign site. She says she doesn't plan to run for office again soon, but we owe her a debt of gratitude nonetheless.

District 2—Helena Moreno (D) v. "Dollar Bill" Jefferson (Inc D). New Orleans. This one is guaranteed to be won by a Democrat, after the primary held Jefferson to just 20% of the vote in a 7-candidate primary. Moreno, the surviving challenger, is white and Jefferson is black in an overwhelmingly black district.  However, Jefferson is also under indictment, stripped of most of his membership privileges, and ranks 435 out of 435 members in influence, behind even all of the Republicans and Freshmen. Normally when we’re in primary mode, I preserve my objectivity, but this is one of the exceptions. I say let’s work to get an EFFECTIVE Democrat into this district, instead of a laughingstock who makes corruption look bipartisan.

District 3—Charlie Melancon (D). The "sole" of Louisiana’s boot, including Houma and a lot of coastal bayou and cajun country. Melancon is unopposed, and a good thing too, because we have a lot of work in the rest of the state.

District 4—The "back" of Louisiana’s boot, along the Texas border and including Shreveport. This district is still way up in the air, with runoffs in both parties plus a couple of independents. A good pickup prospect, which ought to get about as much attention as TX-23 did in the special runoff election shortly after the 2006 main event. In fact, you can bet both parties will fling the kitchen sink at it for a full month after November 4th, it’s that close.

The Democrats are DNC favorite and Caddo County DA Paul Carmouche, and retired Col. Willie Banks, a Vietnam Vet and attorney. Carmouche is white; Banks is black. Carmouche was widely expected to win in October without the need for a runoff, but AA turnout once again showed that in Obama’s year you can’t take things for granted.  Here’s links to both of their sites

District 5—Rodney Alexander (Inc R) is unopposed in the "top" of the boot, that includes most of the Arkansas border and the Mississippi river. Alexander was originally a Democrat, then switched to GOP immediately before the 2004 filing deadline (thinking "Ha-ha, suckers") and thus got a free ride. His reward for selling his soul was one term as a back bencher in the majority party before 2006 threw him back in the minority. Now who’s laughing, eh, Rodney? He’s got no opponent, and might be Representative for life before too long, so I’ll leave it to the purists and pragmatists to debate whether we might be willing to take him back into the winning party if Louisiana ends up with a majority-Dem delegation and Alexander wants to come back.

District 6—Don Cazayoux (Inc D) v. Bill Cassidy (R).  On the boot, this district is in the middle, about where the shoelaces would go. Cazayoux won a joyous victory in a special election earlier this year. Unlike his fellow half-time winners, Bill foster and Travis Childers, Cazayoux remains one of a shrinking handful of Dem incumbents who STILL need defensive attention. The problems are that Cassidy is a better candidate than the laughable Gooper from before, perennial loser Woodrow Jenkins; and there’s a black candidate running a spoiler campaign as an independent who might siphon badly needed votes from Cazayoux’s base. Be sure to show Cazayoux some love; it would be a shame to have abandoned Gilda Reed to get this seat, only to lose it again just a few months later.

District 7—Don Cravins (D) v. Charles Boustany (Inc R) the "heel" of Louisiana’s boot, including Lafayette and Lake Charles. The recruitment of Cravins, a popular state Senator, was a real feather in the DCCC’s cap and put this race definitely on the map. As with other districts, it’s hard to tell how many new black voters have moved here from New Orleans, and how big the Democratic wave will be, but it’s definitely possible that Rod Alexander might wake up November 5 and find himself the only GOP member of the state’s House delegation. More likely, him and Scalise.  You can make it so by helping out Cravins.

REDISTRICTING LOUISIANA: Louisiana loses a district in the next round, and our mission is to make sure it isn’t one of ours. It’s unlikely that we will have the redistricting trifecta in 2011. It would be easy, if we did, to make Louisiana’s delegation one-party Democrat, but in the real world I’m going to confine myself to just a couple pieces of advice: KEEP THE BORDER BETWEEN THE 2d and 3rd DISTRICTS AS IS. Move the 3rd along the coast to absorb the 7th, and move the 2d into the part of NOLA Parish presently in the 1st. That prevents the fucktards from eliminating the 2nd district.

What else to do depends on which seats we’ve won between now and then. If we haven’t won the 7th, push to eliminate that one (the 3rd could go all along the coast, the 4th all along the Texas border, and the 6th take in Lafayette while keeping Baton Rouge and become a majority blue district). If we lose the 6th, push to lose that one (it’s in the middle and could be divided up among all the others). If we have them all but one, lose the 5th (change the 4th into an all-of-the-top district like the one Jerry Huckabee had in the 1980s).  Again, we can’t do it all, but let’s fight like hell to keep the state leg so we can at least influence it.

What do YOU think?

Previous diaries in this series, including THE BIG ONE for each state:

Delaware(lower house of the State Legislature):

Arkansas(Obama, for want of any other contest):

Illinois(Dan Seals, IL-10):

Texas, Part One(Michael Skelly, TX-07):

Texas, Part Two(Rick Noriega, TX-Sen):

Utah(building infrastructure):

Massachusetts(Using our majority to govern well):

North Carolina(Kay Hagan, NC-Sen):

Hawaii(Using our majority to govern well; also, preparation for Governor, possible open Senate race in 2010):

Mississippi(Ronnie Musgrove, MS-Sen):

Oregon(Jeff Merkley, OR-Sen):

Ohio(Tie: Obama, and State Legislature, both houses):

Maryland(Frank Kratovil, MD-01):

North Dakota(State Legislature, upper house):

Alabama(Bobby Bright, AL-02):

California, Part one(Charles Brown, CA-04):

California, Part two(Russ Warner, CA-26):

Vermont(Gaye Symington, VT-Gov):

Iowa(Rob Hubler, IA-05):


Wyoming(Gary Trauner, WY-AL):

Pennsylvania (State Legislature, both houses):

New Mexico(Harry Teague, NM-02):

Kentucky(Bruce Lunsford, KY-SEN):

Nebraska(Scott Kleeb, NB-SEN):

Friggin’ IDAHO (Larry LaRocco, ID-Sen):

Maine (CHEERS to Tom Allen, ME-Sen):

Wisconsin (State Legislature, both houses):

New Jersey(Linda Stender, NJ-07):

Oklahoma (Andrew Rice, OK-Sen):

South Dakota(State Legislature, upper house):


Georgia(Jim Martin, GA-Sen):

Rhode Island(governing well):

Michigan(State legislature, upper house):

Alaska(Mark Begich, AK-Sen):

Missouri (Jay Nixon, MO-Gov):

West Virginia (GORGEOUS Anne Barth, WV-02):

South Carolina (Linda Ketner, SC-01, Rob Miller, SC-02):

Nevada (Jill Derby, NV-02):

New York, Part One (State Senate):

New York, Part Two(State Senate):

Tennessee (State Senate):

Washington (Darcy Burner, WA-08)

Minnesota (Al Franken, MN-Sen):

Connecticut(Jim Himes, CT-04):

Kansas: ( Don Betts, KS-04):

Florida (The South Florida Trio, FL-18, 21 and 25):

Originally posted to AdmiralNaismith on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 08:52 AM PDT.


Best thing about Louisiana

11%5 votes
2%1 votes
20%9 votes
6%3 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
11%5 votes
9%4 votes
13%6 votes
0%0 votes
6%3 votes
0%0 votes
15%7 votes

| 44 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, Recs and etoufee (18+ / 0-)

    Come on, Louisiana! You can DO it!

    REPUBLICANS: The Older White Meat.

    by AdmiralNaismith on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 08:53:45 AM PDT

    •  But you forgot (8+ / 0-)

      "All of the Above and Even More" and "Yeah, what he say."

      With that behind us, let us more on to Helena Moreno and Bill Jefferson.  I say put some muscle behind Moreno.  She needs it and she'll be great for us in her district.

      Gilda Reed not making the run-off would have changed the face of her district immensely to one, in which anyone would be proud to live in.

      Yes, Cazayoux needs us.

      Wouldn't worry about the rest right now but not so sure Mary is a shoe-in.

      VOTE McCAIN! The world really is flat.

      by nolalily on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 09:10:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  AdmiralNaismith, (5+ / 0-)

      you are absolutely correct:

      Remember—in the "hopeless" districts, you win by keeping the GOP margins below what they were the last time. Do that often enough and the day comes when you win the district.

      Gilda had triple the votes from prior Dem in LA 01.  And that was accomplished by her hard-headed determination.  Hopefully with Harlan’s self-funding and attention paid by the red-to-blue lists, the gap with Scablise will continue to diminish to victory.

      Thanks for your most informative diary!!

      Without Voter-Owned Clean Elections, we have no democracy! Be A Citizen Co-Sponsor

      by gabriella on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 09:40:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I picked Jazz, but, (6+ / 0-)

    I also like the movie version of Runaway Jury, starring John Cusack and Rachel Weisz, which was shot all over Louisiana.

  •  Another great one Admiral. (4+ / 0-)

    Do check out YatPundit's diary yesterday on the Harlan/Scalise contest and the sadly important role race plays.

    As for the poll:

  •  Diaper Dave (3+ / 0-)

    Is indeed the first Gopper US Senator from Louisiana since Reconstruction. Let's hope Chris John runs again in 2010 or Melancon.

  •  Public housing (4+ / 0-)

    Please get your facts straight. While the Big Four public housing complexes were demolished, there are no luxury condominums going up there. There are no luxury condominiums going up anywhere in the city (except perhaps Trump's project). The financing has fallen through for most of them, as has happened to condo projects nationwide.

    The public housing complexes are being redeveloped as low- and middle- income housing and mixed development.

    •  Corrections to this diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdmiralNaismith, tammanycall

      I was going to make the same correction.  Even Trump's condo development is still iffy at best, and it is downtown -- in no way a "replacement" for anyof the Big Four housing projects.

      The other major correction that I think needs to be pointed out is the reason Blanco did not run for re-election.  It can be summed up in five words:  "Governor Blanco's Road Home Program."  Simply put, she embraced the Road Home Program (for distributing federal disaster funds to those whose homes were destroyed), even running commercials putting her name on the program.  The program turned out to be an administrative fiasco, with people (like me) waiting two years to see any money.  There were also news reports right before Blanco had to make a decision whether to run for re-election that the contractor (picked by Blanco) reaped huge financial rewards from the program.  THAT'S what doomed Blanco.  

      Finally, a bit of realism.  That Dem Congressional seat that you mentioned was a pick up a least partly because the Republican candidate was the worst possible candidate in the state -- Woody Jenkins.  Jenkins is so "out there" that the Republican establishment completely abandoned him, and many actively opposed him in favor of Cazayoux, who ran as a very conservative, "pro-life," "pro-gun" Dem.  Whether that race demonstates that the state is shifting purple remains to be seen.  

      •  Blanco lost for a lot of reasons (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AdmiralNaismith, gildareed

        One of them was that post-Katrina, people wanted to "throw the bums out".  Jindal got a lot of protest/anti-establishment voters (just like Obama will likely get in this election.)

        District 4 -- I admit I don't know where the lines are, but my recollection is when you get out of the 504/225/337 area code, there isn't a sizeable African-American population.  At least not in comparison to say, Acadiana, Baton Rouge, or New Orleans.  Realistically, are there enough African Americans in that district to swing the election either way?

        I'd like to see this diary (or maybe another one) address absentee voting in the Gulf Coast.  This is the first presidential election post-Katrina.  Have the problems with obtaining new copies of birth certificates, social security cards, etc., been overcome?  

        Landrieu -- I...just don't like her.  There are Republicans in the Senate who have played lapdog to GWB less often, and Big Oil has her celly on Speed Dial.  Still, better than a Republican?  I guess.

        Posted via wifi thanks to the innovation of John McCain.

        by tammanycall on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 04:06:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your analysis, with all due respect, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zack from the SFV

          is wrong. The Great State of Louisiana has the second highest per capita population of African-Americans in America, and the cities of Alexandria, Shreveport, and Monroe (all of which are not in the 225, 504, or 337 area codes, but instead are in the 318 area code) are actually majority African-American; Shreveport and Monroe both have African-American mayors, Cedric Glover and Jamie Mayo, respectively. Alexandria has a progressive white Democrat, Jacques Roy, as its mayor, which, for the purposes of full disclosure, I work for.

          Moreover, Governor Blanco did not lose the previous election. She decided not to run.

          And again, with all due respect, if you don't understand why a Democratic politician in our State (a person who is currently being attacked by her Republican opponent for "voting with Obama 81% of the time") would be a voice for the reformation of the ways in which the federal government legislates energy policy, then you simply don't understand the economy of the State of Louisiana.

          While Governor Palin is able to offer her constituents a $1500 a year stipend from big oil, the people of Louisiana are forced to sit complacently while big oil taxes our pocketbooks and destroys our coastline. Louisiana refines, produces, and transports far more energy than Alaska, yet we shoulder much more of a burden. And when one of our politicians points this out, they, for some reason, are accused of being in league with pro-Big Oil Republicans. Please, recognize the context.

          Senator Landrieu, as a representative of the people of Louisiana, understands the ways in which this industry provides opportunity for thousands of Louisianans, but, at the same time, she has proven herself to be more than willing to fight for reform. And she has attempted to do all of this against the backdrop of a Republican administration that has consistently denied our State equitable treatment (look at Katrina) and a coalition of Democrats who categorically reject any legislation dealing with oil or drilling as a misplaced priority, regardless of its specific context. Landrieu may not be a progressive, but no one can deny how much better she is than the alternative. In my humble opinion, any claim counter to this (in the name of progressiveness) seriously misunderstands the political environment of Louisiana.

  •  How high are Vitter's approval ratings? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, gildareed

    I am proud to admit that I come from one of the districts that had the least votes for George W. Bush in the entire country.

    by ThePrometheusMan on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 09:48:40 AM PDT

  •  Vitter's gonna lose in '10 (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the plug, Admiral.  Appreciate it.  

    Also, Louisiana has moved to join most of her sister states in the Union with closed party primaries in federal elections.  The only reason we're not done with the primaries yet is because of Hurricane Gustav, which pushed them back a month.  

    That means that the race in LA-04 and LA-02 will see general elections in December.  LA-02 does have a no-name Republican running who cannot possibly win.  

    In LA-02, Moreno is a DINO.  She is taking money from W's Louisiana Finance Chair, Boysie Bollinger, and has recruited staffers from Sinator Vitter.  (And no, that was not a typo.  That's the kinda blogging we do down in Louisiana).  

    Over in LA-06, the Capital Region's seat, Don Cazayoux should pull through.  There is no need for a majority, but a plurality of the votes in the election.  Right now, Don's looking at a 16% or 17% lead, depending on which poll you believe.  His GOP opponent, Bill Cassidy always says he's leading in his polls, but won't release them.  Who you gonna believe?  This race ain't over yet though, as Cassidy has some $600k to throw the kitchen sink at Don with.

    In LA-07, that's an uphill fight.  With the higher AA turnout courtesy of Obama, we might pull it off, but our candidate there, Don Cravins, Jr., got a really late state in the fundraising game ... starting in July.  The GOP incumbent, Lord Charles Boustany (he actually tried to buy an English title of nobility in the 1990's) is a say anything to get elected type of politician ... voted against SCHIP every time it came up, and now says he supports it.  

    "Some see things as they are and ask why? I dream things that never were, and ask why not?" -George Bernard Shaw, as quoted by RFK

    by DailyKingFish on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 10:33:23 AM PDT

  •  i wouldn't be so sure LA doesn't turn blue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, gildareed

    for Obama.

    Granted, if it does, it will most likely be irrevelant to who wins and be teh result of a 390+ EV blow out. But if Obama's national numbers don't tighten (and for the last 2 weeks we've been hearing the will and yet they haven't) we're on our way to a possible double digit win by Obama.

    Interestingly enough there's also a feedback loop in such an outcome. If Republican supporters think they can't win, they won't turn out or answer polls, the worse things become the less people respond or turn out.

    I'm not sure on any of this but Nov 4 will be an interesting day and I plan to watch the polls all night to see what happens.

  •  Thank you, AdmiralNaismith. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, gabriella, chigh

    I appreciate your plug for Louisiana and the shout-out for my well-fought effort to get closer to having a Dem representing LA-01.  Go, Harlan, go!

    Push for Voter-Owned Clean Elections: Be A Citizen Co-Sponsor

    by gildareed on Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 04:20:58 PM PDT

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