We’re in the third year of an intensive cycle of elections, with a presidential election year following two years of remarkable political battles that began with the knock-down of veteran U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014’s slaughter of the Democrats in national midterms.
While 2015 was an off-year for most states, Louisiana saw the equally remarkable fight for the governorship, won against great odds by a Democrat, John Bel Edwards, who defeated U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican from Metairie. The Amite state representative takes the oath for the state’s highest office on Monday.
Given the agony of that campaign’s negativity, maybe people aren’t too thrilled that the High Priest of Negative, Donald Trump, is still leading the GOP race for president. He might still be by March 5, the day of Louisiana’s presidential primary election.
This is a presidential election year that likely is going to be as combative as any, as Barack Obama fades into the constitutionally mandated sunset.
But Louisiana, and particularly Baton Rouge, also face a crowded state and local ballot Nov. 8, and there might still be another runoff for senator and mayor-president on Dec. 10.
Mayor-President Kip Holden leaves office because of term limits and campaign announcements by his potential successors are likely to begin soon. It remains to be seen what agendas for the metropolitan area that the candidates will embrace, but amid a bit of an economic slump statewide, the Baton Rouge area is an island of relative prosperity.
Remarkably, though, there’s also a big U.S. Senate race statewide. Vitter is stepping down, and his successor likely will be elected in the December runoff.
For now, it’s a free-for-all among Republican officeholders around the state, although not so much in Baton Rouge — U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a physician, knocked off Landrieu in the 2014 race, so it’s not likely that voters around the state will anoint another Capital Region senator. Because of Edwards’ victory, Democrats are more emboldened, showing just how quickly the sense of political momentum will change since the GOP ouster of Landrieu.
Because of the vast and almost unregulated spending by special interests, the newspapers, airwaves and social media outlets are going to see a third year of spending aimed at us in Louisiana.
C.B. Forgotston: Having cheered the departure of Gov. Bobby Jindal in his last blog post, the often acidic critic of Louisiana politicians will not be with us to add to the debate over the future direction of the state. He died this week. Forgotston will be not be missed in some quarters, to be honest, because of his writings. But for those of us going back to the 1970s at the State Capitol, C.B. was part of the institutional memory of the place.
Lanny Keller is an editorial writer for The Advocate. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.