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Vitter Gives the Jitters

U.S. Senator David Vitter leads a town hall earlier this year.

Republican U.S. Senator and 2015 gubernatorial candidate David Vitter is giving the jitters to declared and potential candidates for the state’s top job.

A poll conducted between February 6-9 on the 2015 Louisiana governor’s race by Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that Vitter, since his official announcement that he will seek the governorship, has opened up double digit leads over prospective opponents.

Here are the results:

*Vitter leads Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who has officially announced he is running for governor, by a 41-29% margin with 30% undecided.

*Vitter leads Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards, who has announced he is running, 51-30% with 19% undecided.

lou Burnett*In a hypothetical match-up with Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who recently won a second term as mayor of the Big Easy but has not indicated he will run for governor, Vitter leads by 50-37% with 13% undecided.

*When asked to choose between Dardenne and Edwards, respondents chose Dardenne by a 48-27% margin with 25% undecided.

*Dardenne leads Landrieu 46-36% with 18% undecided when they were matched up.

If Vitter and Dardenne are the two principal GOP candidates in the race, which is likely, Republican voters choose Vitter by a 63-21% margin.

PPP points out that the last time it polled the Louisiana governor’s race in August, Landrieu led Vitter 45-42% and Dardenne 45-35%. It appears, according to PPP, that Republicans have united against the Landrieu name, including Mitch’s sister, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

And helping Vitter is a 51% job approval rating for his current position as a U.S. senator.

It is important to remember, however, that the governor’s race is not until the fall of 2015, and a lot can happen between now and then in the unpredictable world of Louisiana politics.


Jindal still struggling

When it comes to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, if it weren’t for bad news, there would be no news at all.

The PPP poll cited above also checked to see how Jindal is doing. His job approval rating was only 35%, while 53% disapprove of his performance as governor.

Not only that, his presidential aspirations also took a hit in the poll. When asked if Jindal should run for president, only 25% of the Louisiana respondents said yes. Those who said no totaled 63% with 12% not sure.

When asked who they would vote for if the candidates for president were Jindal and Democrat Hillary Clinton, 47% said Jindal and 45% said Clinton, which is not much of a victory when the margin of error in the poll is +/- 3.9%..

Some political analysts believe that the poll results could spill over into the upcoming legislative session and could encourage legislators to be more independent.


Other poll results

Here are some other interesting findings by the PPP poll:

*On same-sex marriage in Louisiana, 62% are against, 28% for, and 10% not sure.

*On a similar question on gay marriage, 26% said gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, 28% said gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions, 43% said there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship, and 3% were not sure.

*When asked if marijuana should be legal for medical purposes, 60% said yes, 30% said no, and 10% not sure.

*But as far as legalizing marijuana for recreational use, 61% said no, 30% yes, and 9% not sure.

*On raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, 57% support the action, 35% oppose, and 7% not sure.


Maness messes with Cassidy

With his poll numbers in the single digits, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness is taking aim at GOP candidate, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Maness recently told ABC News that he would not vote to re-elect Sen. Mitch McConnell as Republican Senate leader, calling him a “failed leader.” Of course, that hinges on whether Maness wins the Louisiana Senate race and on whether McConnell survives a strong challenge in his race.

So Maness has sent this message to Cassidy: “As Louisiana’s senator, I won’t vote for Mitch McConnell for leader when elected; what about you Bill Cassidy? If so, why.” Cassidy has not responded.

Maness, a retired Air Force colonel, also said this about Cassidy: “He has given campaign contributions to Sen. Landrieu, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and other uber-liberals, but calls himself a conservative.”

He also noted that Cassidy won’t pledge to defund Obamacare and that he proposed a similar program for Louisiana. Maness has already captured the endorsements of nearly every conservative and Tea Party group, but they have not translated into votes if recent polls are accurate.


Shreveport’s council districts

As a result of the 2010 Census, the city of Shreveport had to redraw the lines for its seven council districts. It is always a daunting task. The new lines will be in effect for the 2014 election.

Usually, incumbents are very concerned about protecting their turf. In other words, trying to keep the demographics that resulted in them getting elected.

The Fax-Net has obtained a copy of Shreveport’s redistricting plan, which will be submitted to the Louisiana Secretary of State for approval. There should not be a problem in getting it approved.

U.S. Department of Justice approval is no longer required as the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

It should be emphasized that these are total population figures for each district, not voter registration statistics, which Caddo Registrar of Voters Ernie Roberson is anxious to do.

He emphasizes that Caddo is difficult to do, but he can’t until approval is given by the Secretary of State.

It is voter registration stats that incumbents and candidates pay the most attention to where re-election of an incumbent is concerned or a challenger plans to run against an incumbent or for an open seat.

Before getting to the individual council districts, let’s look at the overall population numbers for the city of Shreveport.

According to the redistricting plan, there are 199,368 residents in the city. Of that total, 109,395 or 55% are black, 79,728 or 40% are white, and 10,245 or 5% are other races.


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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