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Bossier City marshal race

Last week, we reported on the Shreveport City Marshal’s race, where incumbent Marshal Charlie Caldwell has two opponents and maybe more on the way.

Over in Bossier City, Marshal Lynn Austin has decided not to seek a full six-year term. He became Marshal on April 2, 2011 when he won a special election to replace longtime City Marshal Johnny Wyatt, who was killed in a car accident.

Austin has certainly earned his retirement. He served capably as Bossier City Police Chief and as Chief Administrative Officer for the city before being elected City Marshal.

Two candidates have stepped forward to seek the open seat so far. They are:

*Bossier City Deputy Marshal Jim Whitman is an 11-year veteran of the Bossier Marshal’s Office and has the support and endorsement of Austin.

*Shreveport Deputy City Marshal Carl Richard has also announced his candidacy. A resident of Bossier City, Richard worked in the Bossier Marshal’s Office for five years before taking a similar position with the Shreveport City Marshal, where he has served since 1997.

lou BurnettThis will be Richard’s second try to win the badge of the Bossier City Marshal. He ran for the seat in the special election in 2011.

The results of that race were: Austin 54%, Richard 30%, and Sammy Wyatt 16%.

Note: While some wonder how Richard can run for the Bossier City Marshal’s job when he is a deputy marshal in Shreveport, he can do so because his official residence is in Bossier City, where he has been a lifelong resident.


Cassidy leads Landrieu, but…

Republicans are touting a recent poll which shows challenger U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy with a slight lead over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu for this fall’s race, 44-40%.

The poll, conducted between January 28-29, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%, which means the race could be a dead heat.

But the telelphone survey by conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports has some veteran politicos scratching their heads.

The reason is that retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who has picked up every endorsement from conservative and Tea Party groups, was excluded from the poll, while state Rep. Paul Hollis, who recently entered the race, was included.

It begs the question of just how knowledgeable Rasmussen is about the Louisiana Senate race.

A November poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research out of Baton Rouge had Maness with 10% of the vote. Landrieu led the field with 41% and Cassidy had 34%.

Rasmussen did not use that type of question where all candidates were mentioned. If it had, it should have given respondents a choice between Landrieu, Cassidy, Maness, and Hollis. They will all run together in the November 4 primary.

Instead, it asked about head-to-head match-ups between Landrieu and Cassidy, which could be the lineup for the runoff, and between Landrieu and Hollis, where it was tied, 42-42%,

A good question would have been for Republican respondents: Who will you vote for – Cassidy, Maness, or Hollis? It’s a given that Landrieu will be in the runoff, if she doesn’t win outright. Which of the three GOP candidates will make the runoff with her is an interesting question.

The Rasmussen poll comes on the heels of a heavy negative television ad campaign against Landrieu by Americans for Prosperity. Her story has yet to be told, and the Senate Majority PAC is beginning to air pro-Landrieu ads.

The poll may be much ado about nothing at this stage of the game, but it seems to indicate that Landrieu is in store for another nail-biter of a race when many of the 42% of respondents say they will vote for someone they have never heard of – Hollis.


Other Rasmussen poll results

Here are some other findings of the Rasmussen poll of 500 Louisiana residents:

*50% currently approve of President Obama’s job performance, giving him a better job approval rating than he earns nationally. Of the 48% who disapprove, 42% strongly disapprove.

*Only 43% approve of the job Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is doing. Of the 54% who disapprove of his job performance, 33% strongly disapprove.

*40% of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, while 55% view it unfavorably.

*25% haven’t heard of Cassidy and 40% haven’t heard of Hollis.


Statewide stats

With the U.S. Senate race on tap for this fall, let’s take a look at the current voter registration statistics for the state of Louisiana.

There are 2,917,833 registered voters in the state. Of that total, 64% are white, 31% are black, and 5% are other races.

By party affiliation, 47% are Democrats, 28% are Republicans, and 25% are Other Parties.

Of the Democrats, 45% are white, 52% are black, and 3% are other races.

Of the Republicans, 93% are white, 3% are black, and 4% are other races.

Of the Other Parties, 69% are white, 23% are black, and 8% are other races.

Note: Other Parties includes so-called Independents, which is no longer recognized as a political designation in Louisiana.

Interestingly, there are more registered black voters in the state now than pre-Katrina, which occurred in 2005.

For the 2002 U.S. Senate race (pre-Katrina), which Democrat Mary Landrieu won with 52% of the vote, 29% of the registered voters were black.

In 2008, when Landrieu won in the primary with 52% of the vote, 31% of the registered voters were black.

Today, as noted above, 31% of registered voters are black.

So the premise held by some GOP politicos that Katrina diluted Landrieu’s black support, doesn’t seem to hold water.


Landslide Landrieu!

Apparently the Landrieu name is still magic in the Big Easy. Incumbent Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu won a landslide victory over two black opponents Saturday, garnering 64% of the vote.

Some political analysts thought Landrieu might be in for a rough re-election battle when former Judge Michael Bagneris, from a well-known African-American family in the city, entered the race.

But his challenge never gained any traction. He wound up with 33% of the vote. Another black candidate, Danatus King, president of the New Orleans chapter of the NAACP, got 3%.

Analysts surmise that Landrieu was helped by two factors. 1. Former African-American Mayor Ray Nagin’s trial was in the news, reminding voters of the mess Landrieu inherited.

2. The unprecedented winter storm that hit New Orleans showed Landrieu in command of the situation, getting high marks for the way he handled it.


Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.

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