Early voting trend points to landslide for Cassidy in Louisiana
That sucking noise you hear is the sound of Senator Mary Landrieu's political career going down the drain.
The number of people who cast their ballots early in Louisiana dropped off from the Nov. 4 primary election to the Dec. 6 runoff election in every statewide category except one: registered Republican voters.
About 85,900 registered Republicans took advantage of early voting for the Dec. 6 runoff, which was held during the week leading up Thanksgiving, as well as Saturday. That's almost 3,000 more than the number of people who voted early for the Nov. 4 election, and it amounts to a 4 percent bump in early voting overall from a month ago.
The jump in early Republican voters is noteworthy, given that early voting overall dropped by 10 percent from the November primary to the December runoff. The number of registered Democrats who voted early fell even further -- about an 18 percent decrease -- from the primary to the runoff, according to information provided by the Secretary of State's office.
"We have a lot of volunteers on the ground for the runoff, and we are encouraging people to take advantage of [early voting]," said Jason Dore, executive director of Louisiana's Republican Party.
The Dec. 6 election features the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and Baton Rouge Rep. Bill Cassidy. Two U.S. House races and a number of local contests are also on ballot across the state.
Early voters made up 16 percent of the electorate in the Nov. 4 primary. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the early voting period for the Dec. 6 election was two days shorter than the early voting period before the Nov. 4 election, which Democrats have said will result in some drop off in participation.
Experts have warned against reading too much into early voting statistics. Early voting periods tend to attract political activists, chronic voters and the elderly. It doesn't appeal to voters who are undecided or don't feel strongly about whom they are going to support.
"By definition, you don't get absent-minded voters or people who haven't made up their minds yet," said Pearson Cross, a professor at the University of Louisiana -- Lafayette, in an interview about early voting.
Louisiana Republican officials are investing in a massive get-out-the-vote project to ward off complacency and get their people to the polls. And with Cassidy up in the polls by double digits, combined with the GOP early voting advantage (including a drop-off in black early voting of nearly 25%), it doesn't look like Landrieu has much hope.
You can smell her desperation in the attack ads she's running:
I’m Mary Landrieu, candidate for Senate, and I approve this message:
Man: News flash — Bobby Jindal endorses Bill Cassidy 100%. That troubles me. Jindal, our absentee governor, and Doc Cassidy, a medical doctor, oppose affordable healthcare for working families. These millionaire Republicans are against equal pay for women, and have opposed the Violence Against Women Act. And can you believe, Doc Cassidy has endorsed a documentary which claims slavery was better for black folks than welfare.
Woman: Oh no he didn’t!
Man: Yeah, well he sure did, my friends. But worse than that, Cassidy and Jindal are trying to impeach our President. Back in the day, there was a TV cowboy named Hopalong Cassidy. I don’t know if they’re related, but why don’t you just hop along, Doctor Cassidy, to wherever your number one supporter, Bobby Jindal, is headed this week, and let Senator Landrieu continue doing a great job for the people of Louisiana?
Cassidy/Jindal — bad for Louisiana, disastrous for black families.
For the record, Cassidy did not "endorse" a documentary claiming that slavery was better than welfare. And Cassidy is not related to Hopalong Cassidy. So much for the record.
The runoff will be held on December 6.