John Edwards claiming win over David Vitter in Louisiana governor’s race

22 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Louisiana Voters Head to Polls to Pick Next Governor.

—Louisiana voters decide Saturday whether to elect a Democrat to statewide office for the first time since 2008 in a close competition that has seen the Republican former front-runner, U.S.

John Bel Edwards hopes to upend the conventional wisdom that the conservative, typically red state will consistently back Republicans for statewide positions. The election in Louisiana is Saturday. “A few weeks ago, most everyone expected Edwards would pull off the upset,” writes National Public Radio’s Jessica Taylor. “But now it wouldn’t be as much of a surprise if Vitter does escape and win the race.” One reason: From Kentucky to now in Louisiana, Republicans have been able to exploit a deep – and, some allege, racially tinged –dislike of President Obama and his policies, including the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Democrat-led expansion of subsidized health insurance. Up to this point, the election narrative in Louisiana had been that after defeats in Kentucky in November and Georgia last year, a Democrat, albeit an almost extinct variety called a Blue Dog, had a real shot at breaking up the Republicans’ red state monopoly. Edwards lead went up by two percentage points in the polls, to a 22-point margin. “A larger question looms,” writes Jason Berry in the Daily Beast: “If the margin holds, does the Edwards surge signal a sputtering of the Republican Southern strategy that exploits racial division by demonizing President Obama?” But as it now appears the margin has narrowed, the reasons underscore perhaps less race but the profound emotions swirling around America’s role in the Syrian refugee crisis, especially after at least one terrorist was able to attack Paris last Friday after joining a phalanx of refugees from the brutal Syrian civil war.

Some of the attackers, it turns out, had joined the refugee stream to cross into France, prompting more than 30 US governors to demand that Syrians stay out of their states. After a false report surfaced that a male Syrian refugee had gone missing in Louisiana, the Vitter campaign began bombarding voters with robocalls warning that “hordes of Syrians would soon be invading the United States, thanks to Obama,” Tyler Bridges reports in the Washington Post. (Obama has ordered that the US quadruple the number of Syrian refugees – up to 10,000 – it resettles stateside in 2016.) As a result for the false report and robocalls, Edwards was forced to change his messaging on refugees mid-stream, saying he, too, would like to see a “pause” in resettlement. At least $30 million was spent in the race, from candidates and outside groups who have played a larger role in this year’s competition than in prior state elections. After all, just this week, 58 percent of Americans , including 40 percent of Democrats, told Reuters/Ipsos pollsters they no longer “identify with what the country has become.” The national focus on legalizing gay marriage – the trend by states to legalize marijuana – run counter to the weight of public opinion in many corners of the country. A recent survey found that non-college educated white Americans, many of them in the South, had seen their middle-age mortality rise and life expectancy decrease since 1999.

Such concerns were part of the narrative in the Kentucky gubernatorial election earlier this month, where Republican Matt Bevin beat Democrat Jack Conway by nine points, becoming only the second Republican governor of the Blue Grass State in 40 years. A poll released Friday showed that Vitter had closed the race, in part by hitting Edwards on the refugee question. “The race has tightened substantially,” pollster John Couvillon writes, but “the question is whether that will make a difference” given that nearly a quarter million votes were cast as absentees before Friday’s attack in Paris.

Vitter was hit with repeated attacks for a 2007 prostitution scandal in which he apologized for a “serious sin” after he was linked through phone records to Washington’s “D.C. Edwards was misrepresenting a record filled with votes supporting teacher unions and trial lawyers and opposing business interests and education reform efforts. “His campaign is built on a myth that he is some sort of a conservative, that we don’t differ on the issues, when we definitely do,” Mr.

The candidates did little to mask their distaste for each other in the two televised runoff debates, both of which escalated into near shouting matches at various points.

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