BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Midterm elections are just a few months away and a Southern University political science professor gave a look at national trends and some insight into party politics that caused an upset over the weekend.
Dr. Albert Samuels chairs the Political Science Department at Southern University. He said it will be hard for the state to change the Republican domination of state and federal seats due to low voter turnout, among other issues.
“Louisiana is a non-voting state. I mean, just look at the numbers. Even in a typical statewide election when the governor is on the ballot, which is typically our political Superbowl in Louisiana, about half of the electorate are voting for nobody,” Samuels said.
He points to Georgia being in a similar situation as Louisiana a decade ago. All the recent work and “building of infrastructure” led to more competitive races. Samuels said he believes some Democrats have forgotten the more rural areas where most blue candidates don’t stand a chance currently.
Over the weekend, the Louisiana Democratic Party voted on who to endorse in the fall elections. During the meeting, they voted to change the rules so they could endorse multiple candidates for races such as the U.S. Senate and Public Service Commission.
“I think there were some candidates who thought had the rule not been changed, they would have gotten the endorsement of the party,” Samuels said.
One of the candidates looking to unseat Senator John Kennedy is Gary Chambers. He took to Twitter to air his frustrations over the change.
In a thread, he states: “I beat [Luke Mixon] in the process created by the [Louisiana Democratic Party]. They changed the rules in March thinking I wouldn’t get the executive committee endorsement to ensure I would have no recourse if I lost the executive committee vote. Instead the chosen candidate lost, so they suspended the rules in the middle of the meeting to force a dual endorsement. The worst part is, the chair forced it to happen with over 40 proxy votes. She controlled the vote of the people who didn’t even attend the meeting. She assigned the votes to people she knew would oppose me being the only endorsed candidate.”
Samuels believes the move doesn’t change much for the overall goal, stating that endorsements from the state party don’t carry as much weight as some other states.
“The fundamental question is can any Democrat or a combination of democrats at least get 50%+1 to force a run-off? Right now I don’t see anything that has changed that dynamic,” Samuels said.
The party released a statement saying:
“Our job as the Democratic Party of Louisiana is to maintain party unity and provide a fighting chance to defeat incumbent John Kennedy, who has failed in his role as U.S. Senator to responsibly represent the people of Louisiana. Once a resolution is proposed, procedurally it is mandated a vote by the committee of the whole. The members of the DSCC spoke with that vote, and it is our duty to uphold the will of our members. We believe that all three endorsed candidates for U.S. Senate, along with our endorsed Congressional candidates and all Democratic candidates for PSC are strong candidates who can get voters to the polls. We will be here every step of the way to support all of them in that endeavor,” said Party Chair Katie Bernhardt.
As of March, a poll by FiveThirtyEight had John Kennedy beating all of the Democrats by double digits.
While it may not have a major impact on Louisiana, Samuels believes some recent events could change the usual midterm loss of seats in Congress for the party in the White House. He points to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the January 6th Committee, and a number of other events that he said could sway voters. But he said there are a number of things the Biden administration has done to upset his own party, so it is not clear just how many seats will change hands after the election.
The open primary election date is Nov. 8 and the general election is Dec. 10.