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Pelican State Republicans are shooting for the lone Democrat's U.S. Senate seat next time.


Solidly GOP Louisiana Reelects Gov, Eyes Landrieu in ’14

Pelican State Republicans are shooting for the lone Democrat’s U.S. Senate seat next time.

It really didn’t matter much what happened in the Louisiana elections on Sunday.  With all statewide offices but one in Republican hands, and both the state senate and house of representatives ruled by GOPers, attention is now beginning to focus on the lone elected Democrat statewide: three-term U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.  Although she will not face the voters until 2014, Landrieu (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 22.06%) is already the subject of rumors she will retire, and speculation is rampant about which of many ambitious Republicans will oppose her. 

“Landrieu would clearly be in trouble if the state and national GOP could get their acts together for once,” noted Quin Hillyer, senior editor of the American Spectator and a Louisianan.  “But given the past, long history of bumbling, with the national party having absolutely no clue about how Louisiana works, I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Roundup of  Saturday’s Votes

But there were elections in the Pelican State on Saturday.  With unemployment well below the national average at 6.9% and the state firmly holding the line on taxes, conservative Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal romped to reelection over nine opponents.  Because Jindal rolled up well over a majority in the first round of voting (66%), he will not have to face a runoff next month.

In the only statewide contest to attract major press attention, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne secured a full-term over fellow GOPer and Plaquemines Parish (County) President Billy Nungesser Jr.  Dardenne, named to the lieutenant governor’s post when incumbent Democrat Mitch Landrieu was elected mayor of New Orleans two years ago, won 53% of the vote against Nungesser, who gained international fame as the voice of the county most devastated by the BP oil spill.  Nungesser had the backing of several prominent Louisiana Republicans—notably Sen. David Vitter—who considered Dardenne insufficiently conservative, and warmly recalled the challenger’s namesake-father, a past state chairman who was key to building the modern Republican Party in Louisiana.

Another statewide battle between two Republicans was averted when former one-term Rep. Joseph Cao opted out of the race for state attorney general against incumbent Buddy Caldwell, who switched from Democrat to Republican earlier this year. Cao, the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress, won in a spectacular upset over scandal-tarred Democratic incumbent Bill Jefferson in ’08, but was unseated last fall. 

One little-reported but nonetheless intriguing side of the vote in Louisiana this weekend was the role Sen. Vitter attempted to play.  In trying to become the political kingpin among Republicans, Vitter made a big effort to support Nungesser for lieutenant governor and Jim Tucker for secretary of state.

“And they both lost to fellow Republicans,” Hillyer pointed out.  “As a test of Vitter’s strength, these elections show serious chinks in his armor.  He made a bid to be the major domo in state Republican politics, and he lost.  The yellow stuff all over his face is from raw and rotten eggs.” 

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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