Wednesday, 03 November 2010 19:43

Louisiana Elections: Did Vitter, Melancon Really Duke It Out?

Written by stephen-sabludowsky
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We all said the Republican wave was coming.  It was just a question of how big would be the blast.


For months, political pundits played the game of calculating the blowout.


So, did I.  I am happy to say I scored well.

 As late as Monday, I fearlessly predicted that the Republicans would take the House and would miss controlling the US Senate.  I also picked Vitter, Dardenne,  Richmond and the rest of the Louisiana Congressional races.


So, I should be pleased with my ability to pierce the crystal ball, right?


Well, not quite.  No way did I feel that David Vitter would win by 19%, Dardenne by 14% and Richmond by 32% margins.  I thought Vitter would win by 12, Dardenne and Richmond by 3 to 7 % margins.


Other than Richmond’s slam dunk in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, it would be ludicrous not to describe the local and national elections as blowouts in favor of the “red team”.


Vitter collected 57% of the roughly 1,264,721 votes cast for the U.S. Senate race.  His final tally was 715,216 votes against Melancon’s 475,566 losing by 239,650 votes.


Dardenne likewise captured 57% of the vote or 719,191 of the 1,259,876 votes casted for the Lt. Govenor’s position.


The US Senate race had a 43.1% and the Lieutenant Governor election had a 42.9% turnouts.


Based upon these numbers, one would believe that Louisiana voters were involved in this election that gathered much national attention.  Well, for a moment, instead of crystal ball gazing, let’s compare this election to that of another.  How about the one where the crook battled the Nazi?


Back in 1991, Louisiana’s governor’s race featuring Edwin Edwards vs. David Duke was clearly in the spotlight as to some extent so was this year’s Louisiana US Senate race.


By comparison, Edwin Edwards defeat David Duke by 22% (a roughly 400,000 vote differential).  Edwards received a total of 1,057,031 compared to 671,009 for Duke.


The total number of voters in the Duke- Edwards election was 1,728,040.


This means in 1991, the Governor’s election had a mere 463,319 voters more than Tuesday’s US Senate race.  My guess is that is the approximate population of New Orleans right now (assuming we count some of the folks coming in town to see the Saints).


Another way to look at the two elections are: Vitter collected 44,207 votes more than Duke yet Melancon captured 581,465 votes less than Edwards did against the former KKK leader.


So, what do these numbers mean?  Perhaps nothing.  Still, using the stats as a political Rorschach test, he is my perspective:


The nationally-watched Louisiana US Senate race pulled 73.1% of that of that very controversial 1991 governor’s race.


Common sense and memory tells me that the election of 1991 brought out the emotions of the voters whereas comparatively speaking,  yesterday’s US Senate race was rather bland.


To some extent, Vitter pulled his freight.  He received slightly more votes than did Duke.  However, Melancon’s tally was miles and light-years away from that Edwards.


From my view, those people voting for David Duke were either strongly in favor of Duke or strongly against Edwards.


Those people voting for Vitter were strongly in favor of Vitter or against President Obama and the Democrats.  However, I believe that using the 1991 election as a model, many Melancon voters were dead against Vitter but not as much as they were against Duke.  Also, despite the major negatives of his criminal trials, Edwards got out the vote whereas Melancon clearly did not.


Despite the broad use of the Internet, Melancon failed to motivate his base to vote for him or against Vitter whereas close to 600,000 people went out to vote either for Edwards or against Duke.


Ok, I know I’m making many assumptions and there could be many fallacies in this comparison.


Still, based upon experience and observations, it is abundantly clear that the Louisiana Democrats are now the “Aint’s”.


They simply aint’t gelling.


They need to find a way to get their supporters out to vote or they could very well suffer blowout after blowout in the near future.  Now that the Louisiana Republicans control every statewide office other than Attorney General and one US Senate seat and now with the good possibility that Republicans might control the legislature and many more local government seats, the party that once had meetings in the confines of a phone booth will now have plenty to say about the future of Louisiana politics and government.


Gee, with the Louisiana Governor’s race on the near horizon, I wonder if 'ol Edwin is busy.

by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of


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