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Wednesday, 05 August 2015 10:55
Pinsonat: Vitter would gladly pay John Georges qualifying entry fee for governor run
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edwardsLouisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal cruised to a 2011 gubernatorial victory and second term in a ho-hum election. This year, we US Sen. The ho-hum continues as David Vitter appears to be in the “catbird seat” of winning a runoff against Democrat John Bel Edwards.

(Photo: Jon Bel Edwards)
While polls show John Bel Edwards being competitive with Vitter with possibly even the democrat leading election night, the polls also show Vitter winning the votes from the remaining Republican candidates, Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle should there be a runoff.  Don’t forget, Louisiana is the reddest of reds of Republican states lately.

Of course, this is assuming the “as is” candidate field of those politicians mentioned above.

Recently, I asked Bernie Pinsonat, political adviser and pollster with Southern Media and Opinion Research to respond to the question whether we are looking at a Vitter victory, at this point.

Right now, it looks like Vitter vs. Edwards in a runoff.  Does that mean a Vitter victory?

Not a lot has changed in the last four to five months: David Vitter and John Bell Edwards would definitely be in the runoff for governor if election were this Saturday. Since David Vitter announced his candidacy, he is the candidate most assume will make runoff and become Louisiana’s next governor. Months have passed and nothing has changed to reduce this perception – which is another advantage for David Vitter. Vitter remains the best known candidate, best financed and of course he is a popular U S Senator.

Vitter has a loyal base of conservative voters consisting of republicans (especially white males), tea party and religion based voters. The most discussed and unanswered question is Vitter’s gender gap vulnerability. Negative ads will result in Vitter losing so many females – that he would not be our next governor! One big problem with this prediction: Vitter is so strong with white males; he could lose up to twenty percent of his female voters and still make the runoff.

Vitter has more dollars to spend than his opponents combined – not to mention a PAC with millions available to attack his rivals. This election is months away – plenty enough time for candidates fortunes to rise and fall. Speaking of fortunes – a potential development would certainly be good news for the Vitter Campaign. It would be a really big development! 

Democrat John Bell Edwards is the only democrat running for governor. For now! Receiving ninety-five percent of all black votes and a few percentages of all white votes - Edwards probably makes the runoff. What are the odds on Edwards’s outlook of becoming Louisiana’s next governor – slim and none is in play! John Bell Edwards outlook to make the runoff is based solely on the fact he is the only democrat running for governor. What if John George announces as a democrat in the coming weeks – even the last day of qualifying? Huge media story on George’s last minute entry – John Bell Edwards runoff chances are suddenly rated zero.

John George has enough dollars to spend on media (finally a business man democrat) to attract bigger percentage of white democrats. George definitely energizes black leaders, especially in Orleans. The black political leadership knows John George definitely has the “it” factor needed to win - lot of money. Every white democrat John George gains - dramatically reduces the likelihood of Scott Angelle or Jay Dardenne making the runoff. John George rumors are now the biggest buzz in this lackluster governor’s race.

This actually occurring is a real possibility. Late entry candidates cause campaign strategies for candidates who announced months ago suddenly become worthless. I have no inside information on John George actually running - merely pointing out his late entry and his check writing ability is a big plus. As of today, any candidate running for governor must now consider a John George candidacy a real possibility. John George could squash these rumors with a statement declaring no interest. Why would he do this?  I said four months ago – the more candidates qualifying for governor the more likely Vitter wins runoff spot. David Vitter would gladly pay John George’s qualifying fee on September 8th.  

Will former The Advocate publisher, John Georges, run for Louisiana governor?

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