But then, we’re in late June.
Which means we have a few months until we get answers to these "burning" questions, such as-- will any of the current statewide office holders have real competition? How about--will Governor Edwards win re-election without breaking a sweat or will one of the current contenders (either Congressman Ralph Abraham or businessman Eddie Rispone) break out from the back and make a real run?
These are the issues Jim Brown and I discussed during a Facebook Live show on Monday. Brown has spent twenty-eight years in government holding the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and the Secretary of State spots for most of the term. He also ran for Governor in an election in which Buddy Roemer emerged from low single digits to beat out famous Louisiana brands such as Brown, Bob Livingston, Billy Tauzin, Gillis Long and even Edwin Edwards.
He's been in the trenches. He's knows that Louisiana politics can be a blood sport.
Below is part 1 of our interview in which Brown begins to discuss the upcoming election season. Come back on Friday for part 2.
BROWN: Everybody's just kind of wondering, looking around thinking-- when is the statewide elections gonna take place? There's more action in the presidential election that's a year and a half away going on on our local stations and local commentators then there are on these statewide elections that takes place here --I think qualification start here at about a month and a half. So pretty dull time in statewide politics right now, at least for the moment, Steve
SABLUDOWSKY: So we actually have an election coming up?
BROWN: Well, that's what most people kind of wonder--there's, and of course, in fairness, in this day and age with so much competition for someone's attention with social media being so dominant ,it's going to take a wave of concentration there to really get into the flow of statewide elections, particularly the down ballot races. Nobody knows there's an election, nobody really cares that much. When you start seeing these TV blitzes, a--night after night, then people are going to get much more engaged. And that's typical for norm. I think what's not typical is that--you know-- I ran for of, I was in politics for 28 years on the ballot eight times, I ran for governor of Louisiana in 1987 at this point in the campaign I wasn't on television quite yet, very close to being on television, but I was criss-crossing the state as were all the other candidates that are at a rapid pace and I don't see much of that happening now.
SABLUDOWSKY: So why is it-- do you think that people have just decided that John Bel Edwards, the current governor, is just going to win and so therefore there's no reason to really get excited? I mean you know the governor's race four years ago at this point in time basically, I mean, of course there was David Vitter and he was very controversial--but I mean, at this point in time, there was a lot of discussion, a lot on a daily basis, so is it, is it that we seeing sort of like a revisiting of when Bobby Jindal ran for a second time, nobody knew there was election, he ran against people who really didn't have any name recognition? Is, is that what's going on?
BROWN: To some degree, and as your right--insiders who are interested in politics, the people that watch this show, listen to podcast, really zero in on the politics it's almost a hobby for them, they talk about it a great deal, but as far as the average voter you go out of the street and talk about the election and no one is tuned in and and not all that interest in this state and there's a lot of uncertainty. A Verne Kennedy poll, Verne Kennedy's a fairly well recognized pollster, well-known in the state, has polled for many years, he came out here just last week, showing that about, not forty-five percent of the people are not satisfied as the direction the state is going. So you would think that would be fodder for a candidate to build on that. And I think it is John Bel Edwards the present governor is probably the most acceptable philosophically governor you could possibly have who's a Democrat and still get reelected.
No other Democrat in the South has been reelected, but he's pro-life, he's pro-gun and so as a consequence he even vetoed, rather he signed the very strict abortion bill that took place that may not be popular in many democratic circles, but Republicans, a lot of moderate Republicans, say, well you know we can't argue with the job the guy's done. We wish he were a Republican, but at least he's voting the way we'd like to see him vote. So and then you, maybe Edwards is rolling the dice, saying look, where do the hardcore Democrats have to go? I got two Republican opponents, no major Democrat--are they going to vote and throw a far-right vote just because they're mad at me? Or, are they all going to come back home? And they say well we may not vote at all, but, I hear that a good bit and may in some elections there's a downturn, voters are going to vote--probably hardcore Democrats or disappointed in Edwards are probably hold their nose and vote for him. So he's in pretty commanding the shape right now.
A Jim Kitchens poll that I saw about a week ago showed even stronger numbers--showing him beating both Republican candidates handily in the first primary and with ten million dollars in the bank and of an acceptable voting record, he's in pretty good shape right now. I think he would be an onslaught of some heavy heavy negative spending by Republicans, number one and number two it probably takes some help from Donald Trump to come in and put his arms around the candidate, although and not trying to dominate here, Steve, but Verne Kennedy's poll showed that Trump's numbers are way down.