THE BIG WINNERS
*Republican Barrow Peacock – After three unsuccessful tries to win a seat in the Louisiana Legislature -- twice for the Senate and once for the House – he finally did it – and quite convincingly.
Using mostly his own money, he won the state Senate District 37 seat, defeating Republican state Rep. Jane Smith, who was endorsed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Republican Party. He received 55% of the vote.
*Democrat Sheva Sims – Like Peacock, Sims won after three unsuccessful tries for elected office – twice for the Shreveport City Council and once for the state Senate.
Sims defeated four opponents – including Shante Wells 56-44% in the runoff – to capture the Division D seat on the Shreveport City Court.
*Democrat Greg Tarver – After sitting on the sidelines for eight years following his acquittal in the trial that convicted former Gov. Edwin Edwards, Tarver pulled off a political comeback.
He did it by beating two-term incumbent state Sen. Lydia Jackson by a 52-48% margin to reclaim the Senate seat he held for 20 years prior to 2003.
It was one of the most contentious races ever at the local level, and will likely have political fallout for months, perhaps years, to come.
*Democrat Gene Reynolds – It was a big win for Reynolds, a Democrat, because he defeated a Republican, Jerri Ray dePingre’, endorsed by the governor and the Louisiana Republican Party, 55-45%.
He won the state House District 10 seat, which has been represented by another Democrat, Rep. Jean Doerge, for 12 years. She was term-limited.
*Republican Sherri Smith Cheek – Her own party and its Republican governor, plus the Tea Party, tried to do her in for not being conservative enough.
The voters felt otherwise, and Cheek was easily re-elected to a third and final term in state Senate District 38, defeating Republican Troy Terrell, 57-43%
*Democrat Barbara Norton – Some political pundits thought antics of the first term representative might be her downfall. She had a Rap singer perform at the Legislature, berated police officers during a Black History Parade, and joined Republicans to prevent another black House district from being established in Shreveport.
No matter. She won a second term easily, defeating former state Rep. Ernest Baylor who tried to reclaim his old seat, and Lynn Cawthorne in the runoff, 56-44%.
THE BIG LOSERS
*Democrat Lydia Jackson – After serving one term in the House and two in the Senate, Jackson was the only incumbent state senator to be defeated in the 2011 elections.
Once thought to be a potential candidate for mayor, Jackson now has to reassess her political future.
*Republican state Rep. Jane Smith – After being term-limited in her House District 8 seat, Smith tried to make the jump to the state Senate. She fell short of her goal.
The voters in Senate District 37 rejected Smith as they did state Rep. Billy Montgomery in 2007. He, too, was term-limited in the House and tried to move up to the Senate. He lost to Republican Buddy Shaw.
*Democrat Ernest Baylor – Having represented House District 3 for 12 years, he could not run in 2007 because of term limits. After four years out of office, he attempted a comeback in an effort to win back his old seat. Voters said no. He came in third in the primary in a four-person race.
The northwest Louisiana delegation
Northwest Louisiana’s 14-person legislative delegation stacks up this way:
Nine Republicans: Robert Adley (Senate 36), Barrow Peacock (Senate 37), Sherri Smith Cheek (Senate 38), Jim Morris (House 1), Alan Seabaugh (House 5), Thomas Carmody (House 6), Ritchie Burford (House 7), Jeff Thompson (House 8), and Henry Burns (House 9).
Five Democrats: Greg Tarver (Senate 39), Roy Burrell ((House 2), Barbara Norton (House 3), Patrick Williams (House 4), and Gene Reynolds (House 10).
The delegation consists of 10 whites, four blacks, 12 men and two females.
The state Senate District 39 race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Lydia Jackson and Democrat Greg Tarver, who reclaimed his Senate seat with a 52-48% victory, was a costly one for both candidates.
The final campaign finance report for the election is not due until December 29. But a review of special reports, which are required to be filed leading up to election day, do give an indication of the amount of money each candidate raised in contributions.
Expenditures are not required on the special reports, so they won’t be known until the next report. It is likely, however, that both candidates spent most or all of their contributions in the contentious race.
It appears that Jackson had contributions of $440,197 of which at least $85,000 was in-kind contributions. Tarver apparently raised $401,504 of which $150,000 was a personal loan to his campaign committee.
An analysis of campaign reports shows that Tarver raised $148,950 from contributors who live in Shreveport and the senatorial district. Jackson received $123,405. When you do the math, it is apparent that a lot on money came from outside the district for both candidates.
Once the final reports are in, the Fax-Net will have a complete recap of contributions and expenditures for Jackson and Tarver. As of October 30, the last report available, Jackson had spent $263,437 while Tarver had expenditures of $246,136.
As expected, some political pundits decry the amount of money it takes to get elected to the state Legislature these days.
Senators and representatives are paid the same. They receive an annual salary of $16,800, plus an expense allowance of $6,000.
In addition, legislators receive a per diem of $143 a day when the Legislature is in session. At that rate, legislators receive a minimum of $8,580 for a full 60-calendar day, odd-year session or $12,155 for a full 85-calendar, even year session.
When all of that is added up, legislators receive $35,384 for an odd-year session, and $38,959 for an even year session.
by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax Net
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