November 17, 2019

November 16 Run-Off Election Results!

Election results are in! More than 1.5 million Louisiana voters showed up for this critical run-off election. In other words, 51% of registered voters (49% in Orleans, 47% in Jefferson) participated in this election. This was an increase from a month ago when roughly 1.3 million people (45%) voted (38% in Orleans, 41% in JP). Run-off turnout is often lower than in primary elections, but this year we–Voters Organized to Educate, VOTE, the Power Coalition, and other key partners–mobilized on a massive scale. The President probably has heartburn in the White House, with how much cajun cooking he ate during the past month, and it might be particularly troubling to some observers to know how big an impact our voting bloc has become. 

The Results

Statewide

Governor John Bel Edwards (50.7%) defeated businessman Eddie Rispone for the job that may truly define Louisiana’s fate. The slim margin of just 40,341 votes is poetically similar to the number of people held in prisons and jails. If not for winning New Orleans by 100k, we would be looking at Gov. Rispone in Louisiana. 

We hope leaders can now turn their attention to toxic dumping grounds, rising sea levels and the intergenerational impacts of poverty. We can expect the Edwards Administration to continue focusing on health care, education, and reforming a criminal legal system towards restorative justice. With Edwards at the helm, Louisiana residents of all political persuasions can expect us to continue trending in the right direction. It will also likely be national news, in the era of Trump, that a two-thirds Republican state refused to elect another unqualified rich guy, just because he has an “R” next to his name and talks smack about his opponent. 

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (59%) won the rematch with Gwen Collins-Greenup, despite the heavy Democrat turnout and recent news of Ardoin not adhering to campaign finance laws. While Collins-Greenup mounted a solid campaign for the seat, she would have become Louisiana’s first statewide-elected Black woman. Now that Ardoin is out of a 2-year ‘campaign mode,’ perhaps he will be more willing to inform people of their voting rights, including simplifying the process for people who have them suspended and restored. Stay tuned for more on that struggle for universal suffrage.

Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice, 1st District: After a Final Four in the primary, voters from the North and South Shores elected Will Crain (57%) over Hans Liljeberg. This was framed as Trial Lawyers (for Liljeberg) vs. Big Business (for Crain), but that is never quite the case, as these two are probably much more alike than different. Crain presents himself as an Old Testament “tough on crime,” enforcer, so hopefully, that doesn’t cloud his judgment when reviewing police misconduct, ineffective lawyers, or other abuses of power. Most of Crain’s support came from the North Shore, which tipped the balance of losing the voters in J.P. and Orleans. 

 

Local

  • Senate Dist. 3: Joe Bouie (60%) defeated John Bagneris and moves across the Capitol building to the Senate chamber. Dr. Bouie has been a consistent champion of Civil Rights and should become a very passionate, while reasonable, advocate for all Louisianans. Coming from a deep political family, it shouldn’t be long before people see John Bagneris (co-endorsed by Know Your Vote, as both are respected supporters) in a new position. Turnout in this race was 43%, dragged down by lesser participation in St. Bernard and J.P.
  • House District 91: In a race that got unexpectedly ugly at the end, Mandie Landry (53%)  defeated Robert McKnight by 853 votes. After spending his first two years of his career learning about criminal law through the public defender’s office, questions arose when McKnight’s fundraising highlighted support from the sheriff. While both were co-endorsed in the 4-person primary, Know Your Vote ultimately pulled the endorsement of McKnight and supported only Landry. Considering Landry now represents one of the most policed and incarcerated districts in the state, we fully expect her to position herself as a champion to reform the criminal legal system and shrink our bloated prisons and jails. Turnout in the district, spanning from Hollygrove to the Irish Channel was just 42%. WIth Landry leading by a mere 68 votes during early voting, the district clearly became more decisive in the final days of the race.
  • House Dist. 94: Incumbent Rep. Stephanie Hilferty (59%) staved off challenger Tammy Savoie and will continue to represent the residents of Lakeview/Metairie. The local surge for Democrat John Bel Edwards did not fully transfer over to Savoie, who had an uphill climb against a politician, like Edwards, holds some crossover appeal. With turnout at 55%, and a clear Red/Blue division down the district, some supporters saw this as a partisan battleground to fight upon. We expect Hilferty to continue supporting criminal justice reforms, as she has proven to be part of a bipartisan understanding that we need changes to an incarceration framework built in the 1800s. 
  • House Dist. 97: The closest race in New Orleans came down to 378 votes, and Matthew Willard (51%) defeated Eugene Green, and now heads to Baton Rouge to represent the Gentilly area. Willard won an early endorsement from Know Your Vote, and ultimately gained many supporters- including Mayor Cantrell. Turnout: 51%.
  • House Dist. 98: The last woman standing from the state’s closest primary (where any one of four candidates might have won the seat) is Aimee Adatto Freeman (58%). Freeman ultimately built a comprehensive campaign across her district and defeated Kea Sherman decisively. Freeman was fully supportive of our platform, and we look forward to working with her to build a better system of safety, support, and accountability. Turnout at 47%, in a district that will always carry the wildcard of Tulane and Loyola students switching their registrations- or not…
  • House Dist. 99: After coming up a mere 18 votes short, Candace Newell (55%) got over the top to defeat Adonis Expose. This district is a perfect example of how turnout (45%) and GOTV efforts are essential to victory. We look forward to Candace, endorsed by Know Your Vote, becoming a strong force at the Statehouse.
  • House Dist. 105: In Louisiana’s Upset Special, Democrat Mack Cormier (55%) defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Leopold. Cormier’s campaign strengths were his family name and a “no toll bridge” mantra and received support from people and organizations who were frustrated by Leopold’s votes in the legislature. The bulk of the land in this district is in Plaquemines, facing rising sea levels, while the bulk of the voters are at the upper tip, near English Turn of the Mississippi River. Leopold held his voters in Belle Chasse, yet Cormier got a boost in turnout in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. Much credit for that GOTV effort goes to Power Coalition for Electoral Justice. Unlike the Hilferty/Savoie partisan battle in D-94 (where over 5000 more people voted), many people thought D-105 was settled. This is an excellent example that brings an incumbent is neither a guarantee nor an entitlement.

 

Amendments:

1: YES (73%) for the Human Relations Commission (HRC). Supported by Know Your Vote, this presents a great step for the City to create and enforce anti-discrimination measures in New Orleans.

2: Yes (66%) for a $500 million bond for Infrastructure funding- particularly sewers and drainage.

3: No (54%) on a millage levied on homeowners (and passed on to renters) for Infrastructure funding.

4: Yes (65%) to tax Air-BnB renters to support the tourism industry..

Now we get to fight over how to spend all this extra cash, as money seemed promised to everyone- from building a bigger jail to save ourselves from becoming Atlantis (with a bigger jail).

 

Next Election: April 4th, Presidential Primary

Next year will be the first time you must register as a member of either the Democrat or Republican party in order to vote in the U.S. presidential primary election. You can easily change your registration online, prior to March 14, 2020. 

Remember: You can register to vote at any time. If you have a criminal conviction and need help, contact VOTE (vote@vote-nola.org) or 504-571-9599.

Thanks for voting, and remember to tell your neighbors: Know Your Vote!

*See all election results: https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/Graphical

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