Was I surprised? Yes and no.
I certainly expected Jay Dardenne to lead the pack on Saturday. He has good name recognition, had a healthy war chest and made a presence on television.
But, honestly, although Fayard was all over the tube in the last few weeks, I did not believe she would deliver the vote as she did. In effect, she came out of nowhere--a political newcomer with a good presence, but again, a totally new name and new face in the Louisiana political arena. With the democrats in Louisiana failing miserably over the past six years, it was rather shocking to watch her numbers climb Saturday evening and then to realize that a political neophyte and a female would be taking on a moderate to conservative republican male in a state that has been moving to the “right” over the past few years.
What do you think that both Dardenne and Fayard must do now over the next month?
Raise money and shore up their respective bases. Fayard must do what a very-experienced Kathleen Blanco was not able to do after the horrors of Katrina: show that a female democrat can beat a republican in a Louisiana statewide election.
Both candidates must get the losing candidates to support their respective causes.
Dardenne won 28% of the total vote and roughly 42.3 percent of the 426,300 voters who cast their ballots for republicans on Saturday.
Fayard garnered 159,432 votes giving her a 24% of the total tally and a whopping 70% of the total 226,000 votes collected by the democrats in the field.
Which indicates that it is somewhat easy to say that Fayard will win over the balance of the voters who picked democrats on Saturday. Her challenge will be to pull swing voters to her cause and to get out the Louisiana democratic vote in November. While there were slightly more republican than democratic candidates (4-3) for the voters to choose from this past weekend, roughly 200,000 voters chose republicans over democrats.
One of the major reasons that democrat candidates have not prevailed since Katrina is the democratic voters are simply not hitting the polls. Fayard must keep her current supporters, grab some of those voters who cast their lots with the other republican candidates and pull from the independent political population but more important than anything else, energize the democratic base to go to the polls.
Now that she has some credibility in the state and obviously more name recognition, she has a better chance to pull from those communities however the onus is on her to succeed with only a month less to go.
Tomorrow, I will respond to these questions:
What impact, if any do you believe the Lt. Governor’s election will have on the US Senate race and the other Congressional races?
Any early predictions in the 3rd Congressional District election?
What about the other Congressional races?
by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com