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Opinion: Lou Burnett – Louisiana’s Presidential Primary

Louisiana’s Presidential Primary

Relevant At Last

Louisiana took center stage on Super Saturday as presidential candidates anxiously awaited the results from the Bayou State, which indeed, turned out to be relevant for the front-runners for the Republican and Democratic parties.
What made Louisiana’s election more significant was the fact that it was a statewide closed primary, not just caucuses, as was the case in the other four states which held election events on Saturday.
It turned out to be a crucial result for New York billionaire Donald Trump on the Republican side.  Early results had given Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wins in Kansas and Maine.
But Louisiana kept the Trump train on track, giving him a 41% to 38% win over Cruz, who could not garner a victory from his neighboring state. Later, Trump also got a much-needed win in Kentucky, defeating Cruz there 36% to 32%.
It was not a good Super Saturday for Republicans Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Both are clinging to a thin thread of hope to remain viable. Primaries are ahead in their home states on March 15, where each faces a must-win situation.
On the Democratic side, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won the caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska. But along came Louisiana to give former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a landslide victory to keep her ship on smooth political waters.
In the all-important delegate count, here’s how things stand as of Monday. Among the Republican candidates, where 1,237 delegates are needed to win, Trump has 384, Cruz 300, Rubio 151, and Kasich 37. Among the Democratic candidates, where 2,383 delegates are needed to win, Clinton has 1,130 and Sanders 499.

Turnout in Louisiana
The Republican presidential primary, which at times has been contentious, controversial, and crazy, energized GOP voters in the state. A total of 301,169 or 36.3% of the state’s 838,512 registered Republicans went to the polls on Super Saturday. In 2012, only 24% voted in the GOP presidential primary.
Among registered Democrats, 311,613 or 23.3% cast ballots.  In 2012, only 11.9% voted in the presidential  primary,  probably  because  President  Barack Obama was running for re-election and had no viable opposition.
Of, course left out of the equation for both parties were so-called independents, which in Louisiana go under the heading of Other Party or No Party.There are 750,775 registered voters in that category.
It would be interesting to see how those voters feel about the Republican candidates. To be sure, they will play a key role when the general election rolls around and they can vote for the candidate of their choice.
Cruz, Clinton capture area vote
The statewide results in the Republican primary were: Trump 41%, Cruz 38%, Rubio 11%, Kacich 6%, and Dr. Ben Carson 2%.
On the Democratic side, Clinton had 71% to 23% for Sanders.  The party has awarded Clinton 37 delegates and Sanders 17.
But in northwest Louisiana, the “Choose Cruz” signs, which were in public view, apparently paid off.  Here are the GOP results from area parishes: Bossier Parish – Ted Cruz 43%, Donald Trump 38%, Marco Rubio 9%, John Kacich 5%, and Ben Carson 2%. Voter turnout was 37%.
Caddo Parish – Ted Cruz 44%, Donald Trump 35%, Marco Rubio 7%, and Ben Carson 2%. Voter turnout was 35.7%.
Here are the results from area parishes on the Democratic side: Bossier Parish – Hillary Clinton defeated Bernie Sanders 67% to 27%. Voter turnout was 20.8%. Caddo Parish – Clinton won over Sanders 80% to 17%. Voter  turnout was 25.9%

Jeff Cox Fundraiser

Bossier-Webster District Judge Jeff Cox, who is seeking a seat on the Second Circuit of Appeal this fall, is having a fundraiser on Thursday, March 17. It will be held at the Silverstar Smokehouse,   Suggested contribution is $250.  Entertainment will be provided by the famous Cox Family. For more information, call 965-3836.

Note:  Last week state Rep. Mike Johnson was inadvertently left out on the vote for the one-cent increase in the sales tax.  He voted against 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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