Most Louisiana incumbents face fairly easy road ahead

Race for Insurance Commissioner an exception

WWL Newsroom
August 10, 2019 - 10:23 am

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Statewide incumbents appear to have gotten off pretty easy this year with few high profile, or well-funded challengers signing up to run for their seats.

Prominent Republicans sat out this cycle with all statewide offices expect for Governor controlled by the party. UL Lafayette Poli Sci Professor Pearson Cross says challengers are rare in states with one-party rule. “You typically don’t have those really really strong challengers because the people who would be strongest would come from within the same party and they don’t want to be seen as attacking or picking off somebody in their own party.”

The exception this year is the race for Insurance Commissioner, where Republican Tim Temple is self-funding a million-dollar campaign to unseat 13-year Republican incumbent Jim Donelon.

The public may often voice a desire for change, but Cross says the electoral outcomes tend to not reflect that desire due to the substantial advantages of incumbency.

“Oftentimes people say, oh I’m so tired of these guys we should throw the bums out, but frankly those bums as they are referred to are the ones who have raised a lot of money, they’ve been there in the office and have a lot of experience.”

Prominent Democrats steered clear of the statewide ballot this year despite the presence of a fairly popular governor. Cross says that’s an indictment against the state party.

“If the Democratic Party wants to be taken seriously in Louisiana, they should ultimately be fielding really reputable and well-funded candidates for all of these positions and offer the people an alternative.”

The exception may be Attorney General Jeff Landry’s challenger, Ike Jackson Jr. who previously served as Assistant Attorney General of Louisiana.

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