Tuesday, October 03, 2006


An Election Autopsy


A prominent Southern University political expert says it's time Louisiana moves its elections to the spring -- and stop voting on Saturday. That's after just 22% of the voters turned out to vote in what the Secretary of State's office says was the lowest statewide election turnout in nearly a decade. WAFB's Julie Baxter reports on the political tea leaves Saturday left us to read.

Historian Frank Ransburg says that Louisiana has too many elections during hurricane, football, deer and squirrel hunting season, but he had some interesting predictions for the only statewide runoff race left for November 7.

Take a look at this map. Dardenne carried the parishes in orange, Mike Francis ran third, carrying the 30 parishes in green, but notice how Heitmeier carried three key parishes -- Caddo, Rapides and St. Landry -- where Shreveport, Alexandria and Opelousas had hot mayoral races.

"Now some people will jump to conclusions and say that because Mike Francis ran 3rd, that whoever he endorses will win the race," explains Ransburg. "I do not subscribe to that notion, ladies and gentlemen."

In fact, Ransburg says Heitmeier can expect to win in his home parish of Orleans by much more than the 168 votes he won over Dardenne this time, thanks to a feisty congressional race for embattled Congressman Bill Jefferson's seat.

"If an election were held today, I do believe Heitmeier will be elected," Ransburg says. "Although Dardenne ran first, I think he has the responsibility to turn it around, and he's smart enough to do it."

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