Monday, July 14, 2008



This morning CQPolitics did a Louisiana story claiming that challenges to corporate shill Mary Landrieu and alleged bribe taker William Jefferson top the state's political news. The Landrieu story hasn't actually developed into much and, where once she looked to be the only vulnerable Senate Democrat up for re-election, she's looking safer by the day. Karl Rove's strategy of recruiting the Democratic state treasurer, John Kennedy, to jump the fence and run as a Republican hasn't been panning out. Meanwhile a hodgepodge of 7 Democrats have filed to run against Jefferson in the September 6 primary. I can't figure out who the progressive is in this race.

I'm more interested in the competitive House seats that could result in a seats switching parties, the Shreveport district (LA-04, where McCrery is finally resigning, presumably so he doesn't have to spend any more time with his family and pretend he's straight, and where Paul Carmouche-- typical DCCC website with no positions on issues; I guess Rahm hasn't told him how he feels about stuff yet-- is running for the open seat in the very red district; and the Lafayette-Lake Charles district (LA-07), where African-American state Senator Don Cravins is challenging extremist clown Charles Boustany.

Oh, and the Baton Rouge district (LA-06)... which could well flip back Republican. Let me tell you why. First, let me say that in May I mentioned how African-American legislators in Louisiana have grown increasingly frustrated over the state and national party ignoring them in favor of conservative white Democrats. The threats to bolt the party helped Cravins get at least lip service support from the Democrats, although they certainly seem to be putting all their effort behind conservative white Carmouche even though both districts have PVIs of R +7. The other Democrat mentioned in that May story was Michael Jackson-- and Jackson is bolting and could very well cause Cazayoux to lose his recently-won seat.

A little history. After Richard Baker retired in February, there was a Democratic primary that Don Cazayoux won. His main primary competitor, a far more progressive state Rep, Michael Jackson, backed him in the general election and Cazayoux was able to scrape out a victory for two reasons. First the GOP ran an extremist lunatic widely regarded as a quasi-KKK candidate. And second, Jackson was able to deliver the East Baton Rouge African American precincts that backed him in the primary, to Cazayoux.

The problem is that real Democrats in the district have been dismayed to see Cazayoux get into Congress and vote with the Republicans again and again. He hasn't been voting long but his record is already astonishingly bad-- the 8th worst of any Democrat in the House. On substantive issues where there is a strong partisan divide, Cazayoux scores a dismal 37.50 out of 100, right between worthless reactionaries Heath Shuler (NC), Jason Altmire (PA), Brad Ellsworth (IN) and Dan Boren (OK). He voted to keep the Iraq occupation going and he voted for retroactive immunity for warrantless wiretaps. Jackson opposes the war and opposed the FISA bill. He thinks Cazayoux has swung way too far to the right. He's running as an independent.

Local Dems are fretting that Jackson will split the vote and allow Republican state Senator Bill Cassidy-- a conservative but not as insane and extreme as Jenkins, the maniac Cazayoux beat in May-- to slip in. That isn't how Jackson sees it at all. He thinks the two conservatives will split the right-of-center vote and allow a forward-thinking progressive to slip in. There are two pro-war candidates running and one who opposes the war. And, remember, this isn't a primary; Jackson is running as an Independent. All it takes is a plurality in November to win the seat. Jackson has as much a chance to win this seat as either Cazayoux or Cassidy-- and he'd make a far better member of Congress than either of them.

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