Louisiana: Clyburn, Others to Fete Cravins

Posted September 22, 2008 at 6:55pm

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking African-American in Democratic leadership, will headline a fundraiser tonight at local Congressional watering hole Top of the Hill for Democratic hopeful state Sen. Don Cravins Jr.

Cravins is in Washington, D.C., this week to drum up support and fundraising dollars in his uphill campaign to knock off Rep. Charles Boustany (R) in the southwestern 7th district. The anti-abortion, pro-gun conservative state legislator, who is black, has been up with bio ads in the district for two weeks now.

Also scheduled to be on hand for tonight’s fundraiser are the three co-chairmen of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” fundraising program: Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Artur Davis (Ala.) and Bruce Braley (Iowa).

The DCCC has been high on Cravins ever since he decided to jump into the race, and he was added to the much-touted Red to Blue list in early August.

Recent fundraising reports showed that Cravins actually outraised Boustany in the pre-primary period between July and mid-August. But those reports also showed that Boustany held a nearly half-million dollar cash-on-hand lead over Cravins.

Boustany is also very popular in the district. He won re-election in 2006 with 71 percent of the vote in a district President Bush won in 2004 with 60 percent.

Cazayoux Up by Double Digits in Poll

Amid increasing speculation that Louisiana’s 6th district is becoming one of the toughest of the cycle for Democrats to hold, newly elected Rep. Don Cazayoux (D) released a poll Monday afternoon showing him comfortably ahead of his Republican and Democrat-turned-Independent challengers.

The new survey from Anzalone Liszt Research showed Cazayoux with 48 percent, GOP nominee Bill Cassidy with 32 percent and state Rep. Michael Jackson (I) with 9 percent.

The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted Sept. 17-21 and had a margin of error of 4.4 points.

Cazayoux, who won the 6th district seat in a spring special election, nearly tied Cassidy with 43 percent of white voters to the Republican’s 45 percent. Cazayoux, who is white, also more than doubled Jackson, who is black, among African-American voters (59 percent to 26 percent). Cazayoux also showed a 60 percent favorable/23 percent unfavorable rating.

Democrat Files Suit on New Election Dates

One of the four Democrats in the 4th district primary field (and not the one the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is supporting) filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging the revised election calendar that state officials put in place after Hurricane Gustav swept through the state earlier this month.

This year, Louisiana was scheduled to hold its first closed primary in three decades on Sept. 6. But after the hurricane, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) decided to move those primaries back a month to Oct. 4 to give voters a chance to get back to their homes and to allow for maximum turnout.

Oct. 4 had originally been the date scheduled for runoffs necessary in races where a candidate did not get 50 percent of the vote. Instead, runoffs will now be held on Nov. 4, when voters across the country go to the polls, with Dec. 6 serving as the general election. For those primary races that don’t need runoffs, Nov. 4 will remain as the general election date.

Minister Artis Cash (D) claims the election calendar that was put in place by Jindal and Secretary of State Jay Dardenne violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and puts Democrats at a disadvantage in the general election.

“The purpose of the lawsuit it to make sure that this election will not be tainted by partisan politics,” Cash said according to an article in the Shreveport Times that ran Monday. “In other words, we don’t want the Republicans to have a bigger and an upper hand in this election coming up.”

Cash is hoping that Oct. 18 could be set as the runoff date in Louisiana so that Nov. 4 can still be the general election for all Louisiana races.