LA-SD20: Dems Hold Tough Open Seat

UPDATE: It’s over. Democrat Norbért “Norby” Chabert wins by almost a nine-point spread. Nice work.

Polls will close in a few minutes for a pair of special elections in Louisiana. One, a House special, is a D-on-D affair, but there’s also a state Senate special election that’s a bit more interesting: the former occupant of the seat was a Democrat who resigned to serve as Terrebonne Parish’s levee director earlier this summer, and it’s also one of the state Senate districts whose lines overlap with Charlie Melancon’s 3rd Congressional District.

More, from Josh Goodman:

Only in Louisiana does a state legislator resign to become his parish’s levee director. State Senator Reggie Dupre, a Democrat, left earlier this summer to serve as Terrebonne Parish’s levee director, setting up a special election in Louisiana’s 20th District tomorrow.

This should be a tight race. In the first round of voting, Republican Brent Callais took 38%, while Democrat Norby Chabert took 33%. The third candidate in the primary, Damon Baldone, was also a Democrat, but it’s not clear that his votes will go to Chabert. Baldone hasn’t endorsed either of his two former foes. A Callais win would chip into the 23-16 Democratic advantage in the Louisiana Senate.

So far as I can tell, this area of coastal Louisiana is ancestrally Democratic, but very conservative. The district covers parts of Terrebonne Parish and Lafourche Parish. I don’t know about the specific areas of the parishes that are in the 20th District, but overall both Terrebonne and Lafourche gave John McCain about 70% of the vote. In contrast, Mary Landrieu’s U.S. Senate race was very tight in both parishes.

While downballot special elections are often unpredictable affairs that serve as unreliable tea leaves for future elections, this one will be of some interest to those looking to gauge the health of the Dem brand in Cajun country.


128 thoughts on “LA-SD20: Dems Hold Tough Open Seat”

  1. Lafourche Parish

    Baldone (D): 1359

    Callais (R): 2245

    Chabert (D): 1954

    Terrebonne Parish

    Baldone (D): 2598

    Callais (R): 2810

    Chabert (D): 2405

    Lafourche Parish

    D: 3313

    R: 2245

    Terrebonne Parish

    D: 5003

    R: 2810

  2. Obama couldn’t even get 30% in either county. Landrieu lost terrebonne (50 to 48)and won lafourche (49% to 48%). If a Chabert wins this race, it will be a good sign for Melancon when he runs against Vitter.

  3. I have to say that southern Dems know how to do this.  I can’t imagine anywhere in the country where Republicans win by 10 points in open seat elections where McCain got less than 30%.

  4. Norby looks likely to win both parishes.

    Hopefully, this carries into the special election here in Georgia for HD-141.

  5. Even though the jungle primary system is gone, there is still a run-off in Louisiana elections if no candidate gets 50% +1. Generally, I have noticed that in runoff elections in Louisiana with just a D and an R, the D tends to win.

  6. Look at the election results in 2004


    Vitter  51% 943,014

    Dem Total 47% 877,482

    Total 1,848,056

    Margin 3.5% 65,532


    Bush  57% 1,102,169

    Kerry 42%   820,299

    Vitter barely avoided a runoff and had a margin of victory of 3.5% over all the dems total votes. This happened in a year when Bush had a blowout win in Louisiana. Since he has been in the senate, there has been one scandal after another and Vitter has proved to be wayy more conservative than the average Louisiana voter. Thus there will be no advantage to being an incumbent for Vitter. In addition, Vitter will have no race at the top of the ticket to provide him GOP support. I think this makes him extremely vulnerable if the dem that runs against him is moderate enough.

  7. does anyone think state sen. Eric LaFleur will run for Congress, now that he said he won’t run against Vitter?

    And if he does, any chance he could beat Alexander?

  8. Yes, it’s one special election and it would be foolish to make a conclusion based on it.  But this does at least demonstrate ancestrally Democratic areas haven’t abandoned their roots completely.  And while 2008 was pretty disappointing here it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked: Landrieu, who some thought was a goner or at least no better than even money for reelection, won it fairly comfortably.  And two Republicans in very conservative districts were at least held below 50%.

    Louisiana isn’t going to turn into Virginia anytime soon, but at least Democrats still have some energy left in them.  

  9. … and a nearly 100 post thread breaks out on a State House election 🙂 Nice to know there are people out there as geeky as me.

Comments are closed.