After sitting out the primary for state treasurer, the Louisiana Democratic Party may be about to reverse course and back the race's lone Democrat, attorney Derrick Edwards, in the runoff.
I can think of a couple of possible reasons for that:
1) Hey, why not? Sure, Edwards hasn't mustered much of a campaign so far, and yes, opponent John Schroder's Republican Party affiliation would make him a heavy favorite over even a well-funded, well-organized Democrat. But the party really has nothing to lose.
2) Or maybe it has something to gain.
It would take some truly weird circumstances to make this race competitive, but the Nov. 18 runoff might just hit the sweet spot.
The key here is not the contest between Edwards and Schroder, but what else is on the ballot.
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In New Orleans, where Edwards took a whopping 62 percent of the primary vote to Schroder's 12 percent, an open mayor's seat and two competitive City Council elections will lure voters to the ballot. Assuming Schroder picks up votes from the primary's other four competitors, three Republicans and a Libertarian, he still starts with just 38 percent in the heavily Democratic city.
Even if turnout in Orleans is paltry for such a major race, it will still eclipse interest elsewhere in the state, where only a handful of low-profile seats are up for grabs. One is Schroder's old legislative seat in St. Tammany Parish, which should help him some, even if legislative districts are small and state House contests aren't that big an electoral draw. In other parts of the state likely to favor Schroder, though, the pickings are slim to non-existent. As LaPolitics publisher Jeremy Alford has pointed out, a full 56 parishes have nothing at all on the ballot other than the treasurer race, which is itself not much of a draw.
So rather than an easy ride, Schroder's facing the challenging task of convincing all those voters who'd probably support him if they voted to actually show up, and he knows it. On election night, he sent this message to supporters: “Now, remember New Orleans is going to have a big turnout. It’s far from just a given.”
Looks like that's one area where both parties might actually agree.