David Vitter is going to win. I don’t say this as a partisan commentator. I don’t say this as a David Vitter supporter. I don’t even say this out of the sheer dislike for John Bel Edwards that I have. I say it as a matter of objective fact.
In just over a week, we as a state will be voting on our next governor. And by “we,” I of course mean the 40 or so percent who actually show up to the polls. In the primary, we had a statewide turnout of 38.5 percent of registered voters in the most important statewide race of the cycle. This is an off-year election – even with a gubernatorial race, there is going to be a low turnout.
The first reason why David Vitter is going to win is because Louisiana is a red state. At the end of the day, no matter what you say about Vitter’s sordid past, the fact is Louisiana doesn’t care about it so much that they will go out and vote Edwards – they’ll stay home. That’s the risk that Edwards runs with his negative ads. He’s not going to make people turn out, he’s going to make them stay home. More voters works in Edwards’ favor, but fewer voters means he’ll be watching a bunch of older, white Republican men go to the polls to keep someone like him from winning.
The second reason Vitter is going to win is because everyone has it so set in their mind Edwards is going to win based on polling. In Kentucky, a similar situation was brewing just a few weeks ago. Every poll had Matt Bevin, the Republican, down at least four points and set to lose the race. Every poll showed it, every pundit said he ran an awful campaign.
He won by eight points.
The methodologies being used in a lot of these polls are estimating a higher than should really be expected Democratic – and black – turnout. The numbers seem to me to be based on the idea that 2014 is a good baseline for turnout, when in reality, the baseline data from the 2014 year is an anomaly. We had a highly-publicized Senate race that would decide the fate of the U.S. Senate control. More people turned out for that than will likely turn out for this one.
And, speaking of black turnout, that’s another piece of the puzzle. Edwards is not going to get them out to vote in many areas of the state. He just skipped out on a black issues forum at Southern University out of fear of both confronting Vitter and fear of scaring white voters. It doesn’t matter that he’s done speaking events at Southern before, this was a candidates forum, with statewide candidates from several races appearing in order to talk about the issues. The top Democratic candidate in the state decided not to show.
The main reason I dislike Edwards is because of his opposition to school choice. Education is going to be the next great civil rights battle we fight as both a state and a nation, and Louisiana is going to be on the front line in that battle. School choice is the most effective way to get good kids out of failing schools, and Edwards opposes it. That is the final reason he is going to lose.
If I had to guess, I’d say it would be a close race. Vitter wins, maybe 52/48 and becomes the next governor. For better or worse.
Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at RedState.com, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jcunninghamwrites.