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As Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, looks through budget charts, Rep. John Schroder Sr., R-Covington, asks a budget question in the House Appropriations Committee as it takes up the state budget during the special session Monday June 12, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La..

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

The governor and legislators are about equally to blame for having to come back in special session to pass a state operating budget, at least that’s one of the more interesting findings in John Couvillon’s Friday poll of an overwhelmingly white and Republican House district in St. Tammany Parish.

Forty percent of the respondents blamed both the governor and legislators, while 23 percent pointed the finger more at Gov. John Bel Edwards and 21 percent said it was the Louisiana Legislature, according to the JMC Analytics and Polling telephone survey of 400 households with voters registered in House District 77. The poll has a 4.9 percent margin of error.

House District 77 Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, stepped down Friday to run for state treasurer after the lawmakers finally approved a budget to operate state government for the year starting July 1. But the Legislature had to reconvene in a special session when they couldn’t come to an agreement during the two month regular session that ended June 8.

The more conservative House wanted to cut spending by about $200 million in case revenues did not come in as expected. The governor and the state Senate wanted to appropriate all the available funds but have agencies hold back from spending about $50 million in case of revenue shortfalls later in the year. Both sides agreed Friday that the agencies would hold back $60 million as a contingency.

Eighty-seven percent of the registered voters are white in the district that covers the western part of St. Tammany Parish – including Covington, Madisonville and Folsom. The population has grown by 26 percent since 2010 becoming more suburban than rural.

Last year, President Donald Trump carried the district with 76 percent of the vote and Madisonville homeboy John N. Kennedy swept the district with 83 percent of the vote in the U.S. Senate race.

Schroder is one of the Legislature’s more ferocious critics of Edwards and the Democratic policies. He is looking to replace Kennedy, his former constituent, as state treasurer.

More to the point of the poll was the finding that retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a Madisonville resident who twice ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, is leading the race for the state House seat that he has not entered.

Maness has the support of 20 percent of the respondents and is viewed favorably by 22 percent.

Covington City Councilman Mark Wright, who has announced for the Oct. 14 special election, is backed by 9 percent of the poll respondents while 8 percent have a favorable opinion of him.

But 72 percent of those polled are undecided.

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.