Early voting underway in Louisiana’s October 12 gubernatorial primary

The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Monday, September 30, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Early voting underway in Louisiana’s October 12 gubernatorial primary
  2. Join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session on urban planning
  3. Mississippi state Senate district will hold partial special election November 5

Early voting underway in Louisiana’s October 12 gubernatorial primary

Three states—Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi—are holding gubernatorial elections in 2019. Nominees were selected in partisan primaries in Kentucky in May and in Mississippi in August.

Louisiana uses what’s known as a blanket primary, where all candidates appear on the ballot—regardless of party. A candidate can win the election outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote in the October 12 primary. Otherwise, a general election for the top two finishers will be held November 16. Of the five gubernatorial elections between 1999 and 2015, three were won outright in the primary and two—in 2003 and 2015—were decided in the general election.

Media reports have identified incumbent John Bel Edwards (D), U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R), and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) as the leading candidates. Two polls from late September have shown Edwards with about 46% support and Abraham and Rispone tied for second place within the margin of error. 

Edwards says that Louisiana went from having a budget deficit to a budget surplus during his tenure and that he increased funding for education and expanded Medicaid in the state. Abraham and Rispone say that Louisiana’s economy ranks last in the nation. Both say they would increase jobs and lower taxes. Abraham has campaigned on his record in the U.S. House and Rispone has highlighted his background as a businessman. 

Political action committees affiliated with both the Democratic Governors Association and Republican Governors Association had each spent $2.2 million on the race as of September 2. The campaign finance figures for all three leading candidates through the date are shown below:

Early voting dataEdwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana. Early voting began September 28 and ends October 5.

The gubernatorial election coincides with elections for the state Senate and state House, meaning that all three trifecta components will be on the ballot. Neither party will be able to form a trifecta without winning the gubernatorial election. The current makeup of the Louisiana state Senate is 25 Republicans and 14 Democrats, and in the state House is 60 Republicans, 39 Democrats, and 4 independents with one vacancy. Democrats would need to retain the gubernatorial seat and win majorities in both chambers of the state legislature while Republicans would need to maintain their legislative majorities and pick up the governor’s mansion.

Join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session on urban planning

I hope you’ll be able to join us for today’s Ballotpedia Insights session hosted by our Director of Outreach, Sarah Rosier at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. She’ll be talking to Charles Marohn—an engineer and urban planner—to discuss his ideas about how cities should approach growth and development.  

Ballotpedia Insights is a Q&A series with political and legal scholars, researchers, reporters, authors, and subject matter experts. Each installment features a new speaker and we ask them tailored questions designed to gain in-depth insight into their work. They’re a great opportunity to learn from some leading professionals involved in politics and policy. They’re free to register and attend.

Sarah will be talking with Marohn the day before his new book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity, comes out on October 1. Among the topics they’ll discuss are the author’s opinions on the best way to strengthen local communities as well as the types of investments that can best generate wealth and improve the quality of life in towns and cities.

Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns. He is a professional engineer in Minnesota and a land-use planner with two decades of experience. He was also featured in the documentary film, Owned: A Tale of Two Americans, and he was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen, a website about urban planning.  

There’s still time to register and attend by clicking the link below. And if you can’t make it, don’t worry. We’ll post a recording of it and email it to you after its conclusion.

Mississippi State Senate district will hold partial special election November 5 

I told you earlier this month about a Mississippi State Senate primary on August 6 that was decided by a single vote. Here’s a recap of that election—and the latest update. 

  • Dixie Newman defeated Scott DeLano in the Republican primary for Senate District 50—3,184 votes to 3,183. 

  • DeLano challenged the certified results, claiming that some voters in five precincts were given the wrong ballot. 

  • A state circuit court judge vacated the certified results in those precincts September 17 and ordered a new election. 

  • Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) called the special election for November 5—the same date as statewide general elections for governor, other state executive offices, the state House of Representatives, and local officials.

Only voters in those five precincts—and not in the other 11 precincts in the district—will cast ballots in this race in November. The results from the November re-vote in those five precincts will be combined with results from the August 6 primary in the rest of the district. Since there is no Democratic nominee, the winner of this special election will become the district’s new state Senator.  

The results from the 11 precincts which will not re-vote have Newman leading DeLano—2,287 votes to 2,161. 

Heading into the 2019 general elections, the Mississippi State Senate has 18 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and three vacancies. All 52 seats are up for election this year.