Next Democratic House target: LA-06

The Democrats' next House target is set: LA-06 is holding its special election to replace Republican Rep. Baker, who earlier this year followed Sen. Lott's footsteps and absurdly resigned in the middle of his term to go in the private sector. Just like IL-14, which Democrats picked up in March, LA-06 is not the most obvious place for a Democratic victory. The district clearly leans Republican and gave George Bush 59% of its vote in 2004, and the mere fact that it now looks to be competitive is horrendous news for House Republicans.

Yesterday, both parties held the runoffs of their primaries (the first round was on March 8th). The Republican side was less suspensful, and former state Rep. Woody Jenkins prevailed with 62% of the vote. On the Democratic side, state Rep. Don Cazayoux won against another state representative with 57% of the vote, thus setting up the general election's match-up.

"Democrat" Cazayoux is the main reason the DCCC is optimistic about its chances in LA-06, though what makes him a good fit for this conservative district also make him very unappealing to liberals; if elected, he would definitely be one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus and, though he would be one more vote for Speaker Pelosi, he would undoubtedly break with his party on the tightest (and most controversial) votes.

This does not mean that it's not panic time for the NRCC, which is still facing huge fundraising issues and which already had to dump millions to defend OH-05 (successfully) and IL-14 (unsuccessfully, though this effort consumed about a fifth of their cash on hand). The last thing the GOP wanted was to spend another chunk of their meager war chest in yet another district that should be safe for Republicans, but this race looks to have become a sure toss-up. Consider this:

(1) 34,610 Democrats turned out to vote in their primary yesterday versus only 24,470 voters for the GOP's contest. With 56.7% fo the vote, Cazayoux got much more votes than Jenkins, who got 62%. In a reliably red district, that's quite a large difference that says a lot about the two parties' enthusiasm. Special elections are often very low turnout affairs, so Jenkins will have to mobilize her base to counter this problem.

(2) An internal poll conducted for Republicans and obtained by Roll Call earlier this week shows Cazayoux leading Jenkins by 3%. Among those who say they are certain to vote in the special election, Cazayoux is ahead by 9% -- yet another evidence that the Republicans biggest problem on May 3rd (and across the country in November) will be turnout and the mobilization of its base.

In LA-01, meanwhile, Republican state Senator Scalise won the runoff to fill the seat left by Rep. Jindal who became Governor in November. This race shouldn't be competitive.



  • LA-06 could be a serious blow to the GOP. Especially if they are forced to spend big bucks only to lose.

    I can't see them recovering from that. At least not when it comes to fund-raising for the house.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 06 April, 2008 16:56  

  • I don't think that liberals would be upset that Cazayoux would be conservative as there is no way a liberal dem could win LA-06 and a dem who votes against some of the time is better than a GOP who would vote against almost all the time.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 06 April, 2008 17:59  

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