Ron Faucheux: Is the governor’s race over before it starts?

Ron Faucheux: Is the governor’s race over before it starts?
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At the start, Edwards and Livingston were favored to make the runoff. Edwards maintained substantial strength among Black voters and had a modicum of support, though dwindling, in parishes that made up the “Cajun Triangle.” Livingston, a conservative Republican, had first call on Louisiana’s growing GOP electorate.

Just weeks before the primary, lightning struck. Roemer, an exceptional public speaker and debater, won endorsements from the state’s major newspapers all on one day. It was a turning point.

On top of that, Roemer launched a series of brilliant “talking head” television ads, coining memorable phrases such as “scrub the budget,” “brick up the top three floors of the education department” and his central theme: “I don’t like Louisiana politics. I love Louisiana. I love Louisiana enough to make some people angry.”

The Roemer Revolution became the shiny vehicle for big change at a time when voters were sick and tired of the status quo. Supporters and money came out of the woodwork. Roemer zoomed from fifth to first.

On election night, Roemer captured 33% of the vote. Edwards, running second for the first time in his remarkable career, received 28%. Then came the unexpected: During a rowdy election night party, Edwards stepped up to the podium and withdrew his candidacy. That made Roemer the next governor.

So yes, a candidate can catch fire. But in Roemer’s case, he benefitted from a perfect combination of events. He was positioned to ride a resolute desire for change that overcame other factors, such as geography and party affiliation. His reform message tapped into a rebellious public mood; he became the change agent voters wanted.

Can one of this year’s gubernatorial candidates pull a Buddy Roemer? It’s possible, but harder in today’s rigidly polarized politics.

If too many contenders compete for the same voters, it makes it more difficult for one to catch fire. For example, Waguespack, Schroder, Nelson and Hewitt could each get enough center-right votes to thwart one another from emerging as the Republican alternative to Landry. We saw that happen eight years ago when candidates Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle fell out of runoff contention when they split the vote that wanted a Republican alternative to David Vitter.

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About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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