State democrats making efforts to flip Republican seats in suburban districts

(Photo Credit: Cam427r/CC BY SA 3.0/MGN)

Published: October 10, 2019

By: Hailey Auglair, Evan Saacks, Maria Marsh and Liz Garner, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGEConcerned that Republicans could be close to reaching a super-majority in each chamber of the Louisiana Legislature, Democrats are making their strongest efforts to flip Republican seats in suburban districts.

The Democrats are targeting these districts because President Donald Trump carried most of them by smaller vote margins in the 2016 election than he won by in more rural areas.

Democrats are running for 27 of 86 state House or Senate seats now held by Republicans. Sixteen of those 27 districts are in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport and Lafayette or their suburban areas.

“Suddenly we’re realizing that these suburban areas outside of these big urban areas are becoming more and more Democrat, and those used to be Republican enclaves,” LSU Mass Communication professor and political historian Robert Mann said. “If it were a bluer state, you wouldn’t have to work as hard to find those voters.”

If you’re looking for Democratic voters, Mann said, “You’ve got to work harder and find little pockets. That’s why knowing that they’re more likely to be in urban and suburban areas allows you to target your efforts and not waste as much money.”

In other parts of the country, the Democrats tapped into increased support in suburban districts to win enough U.S. House seats in 2018 to take control of that chamber.

A supermajority in each chamber in Baton Rouge would mean that the Republicans held at least two-thirds of the seats.

Getting there, however, would require them to unseat some incumbents – a rare accomplishment in Louisiana elections – and hold onto most of the seats they already have.

The Democrats also are having success in fundraising in a few, but not all, of the key Louisiana districts this fall.

Democrats’ strongest efforts are in districts like the 16th Senate District, the 70th House District in East Baton Rouge Parish and the 94th House District in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. The Democrats in these three races have raised about $268,000 collectively – enough to force Republicans to take them seriously.

The campaign-donation totals in this article come from the candidates’ state filings on Oct. 2. Candidates are still raising money as Saturday’s primary election nears.

Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson is running for the open seat in the 16th Senate District against three Republicans and one Libertarian. She has raised more than $100,000 for the effort. While the amount does not match what either of her two most prominent Republican opponents, Reps. Steve Carter and Franklin Foil, have raised, it easily puts her at the top of the list of all Democrats running in Republican Senate districts this year.


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