Edwards Moves Towards Bipartisan Cabinet

Louisiana Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards (D) is expected to name Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) as his top state government administrator and chief budget officer, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

“The move could be interpreted as Edwards’ first substantial commitment to a bipartisan cabinet. Edwards, a Democrat, has picked Dardenne, a Republican who ran against him in the gubernatorial primary, for arguably the most important and high-profile job in the state government next to his own. As Louisiana’s commissioner of administration, Dardenne will be in charge of running day-to-day operations of government and putting together solutions to the state budget problems for Edwards.”

How John Bel Edwards Won an Improbable Race

The Baton Rouge Advocate looks at how Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards (D) unexpectedly prevailed in the Louisiana governor’s race.

“Edwards needed some luck. Lots of luck, in fact. To make the runoff, he had to be the only Democratic candidate. That happened: Bigger names passed up the race because they thought it was unwinnable.”

“And he needed Vitter to emerge from the primary wounded. That happened, too, thanks to a savage war among the Republican candidates, initiated by Vitter, and attacks from an anti-Vitter group.”

Louisiana Proves that Candidates Matter

Washington Post: “Political scientists love to talk about fundamentals and concoct formulas to predict how races will turn out. But a bad candidate undermines that. Vitter was a bad candidate. Massachusetts is as blue as Louisiana is red, but Democrat Martha Coakley lost a Senate race to Scott Brown in 2010 and a governor’s race to Charlie Baker in 2014 because she is a terrible retail politician. In Kentucky, Jack Conway started as the frontrunner and blew totally winnable races against Rand Paul in 2010 and Matt Bevin in 2015. In both cases, the attorney general tried to make the race about his opponent’s flaws, and it backfired.”

Edwards Wins in Louisiana

John Bel Edwards (D) defeated Sen. David Vitter (R) in the race for Louisiana governor, the New Orleans Times Picayune reports.

Baton Rouge Advocate: “Voters’ rejection of Vitter was a stunning turn of events for the U.S. senator, who has been a political powerhouse in the state for years and started his campaign nearly two years ago as the race’s front-runner.”

Vitter surprised supporters with an announcement that he would not run for re-election to the Senate next year: “I’ve reached my personal term limit.”

Did Jindal Quit Campaign to Sink Vitter?

“In Louisiana, it’s an open secret that Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) concluded a years-long blood feud with Vitter by ending his presidential campaign on Tuesday,” the Washington Post reports.

Said political reporter Julia O’Donoghue: “You can’t get anyone to admit it, but it’s what everyone thinks. We spent two days talking about refugees and then two days talking about Jindal. Those first two days were the only ones in the runoff when John Bel Edwards was on defense.”

Jindal Won’t Say Who He Voted For

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) “took advantage of early voting last week and have already cast the ballots in the Louisiana governor’s race. But Jindal won’t say who he supported,” the New Orleans Times Picayune reports.

“Jindal had announced last week he wouldn’t be endorsing Vitter in the runoff, but now he won’t even tell the public if he voted for his fellow Republican. Jindal and Vitter famously don’t get along. Jindal didn’t endorse Vitter in the 2010 U.S. Senate race either.”

Vitter Turns Race to Terrorism

In an attempt to save his struggling campaign for Louisiana governor, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) released a new ad that tries to make the election about terrorism.

David Weigel: “His closing argument depends on making Democratic nominee John Bel Edwards, a state representative who responded cautiously to the refugee aspect of the crisis, into a refugee-hugging accomplice of President Obama.”

Money Pours Into Louisiana Governor’s Race

“Even in a state that traditionally spends a lot to elect a governor, this year’s campaign already has churned through a phenomenal amount of money and probably will end up being the most expensive in Louisiana history,” the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

“The candidates — and the super PACs that support them — spent almost $31 million through Nov. 1, according to disclosures filed with the Louisiana Board of Ethics. The most expensive gubernatorial race on record was the 2007 election, in which the four major candidates spent about $32 million.”

“This year’s total doesn’t include any of the money state Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Democratic candidate, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, spent over the past two weeks.”

Turnout In Louisiana Expected to Rise

“Louisiana is half-way into early voting in the runoff race for governor, and voter turnout appears to be outpacing the early vote in the Oct. 24 primary,” the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

“John Couvillion of JMC Analytics has reviewed the figures and says in a new blog post that voter turnout could be 45 to 50 percent in the Nov. 21 runoff election. Voter turnout in the primary was just 39 percent.”

Re-Election Doesn’t Look Good for Vitter

If Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) loses the race for Louisiana governor next week, “there is buzz among Republicans in Louisiana and Washington that he would not run for reelection to the Senate in 2016,” the Washington Post reports.

“A loss in the gubernatorial contest would open him up to a serious GOP challenger, and it would be much harder to hit up the donors who have spent this year funding his campaign. Vitter only had $26,216 in his federal campaign account at the end of September.”