Category Archives: Random Musing

Election Day Funalysis

District 69

So, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on the ole’ WordPress Blog. With today being the run-off for one of the most exciting gubernatorial elections in Louisiana in 24 years, I figured I had to sit down and knock something out to get into the spirit of the day. While there has been a ton of ink spilled about the gubernatorial election as well as a lesser amount on the other statewide races, there hasn’t been all that much written about some of the smaller races, so I thought I would go ahead and do a little non-standard analysis on the race for State Representative in the district in which I reside, House District 69.

B&T Air Guitar

Excellent!

The runoff is between two conservative Republican candidates: Ryan Heck and Paula Davis. Heck is the current Councilperson for District 11 on the East Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Council, a district that includes a portion of State Representative District 69. Davis has previously held positions in state government, including as a former Deputy Commissioner of Insurance. So there’s the bona fides, but I don’t really care about that, I want to dig a bit.

money_bags

Let’s talk about money. While it isn’t a 100% truism that spending more money wins the race, it certainly doesn’t hurt. More money spent means you have more mailers, more signs, more radio and TV spots, and more polls so you can tweak your game plan when you find out what’s working and what isn’t. To spend money, you have to make money and Heck definitely has raised more, including personally loaning his campaign a little over $100K, more than Davis has spent in total. Since we already have a primary election in the books, we can take a look at what kind of impact spending may have had so far.

Spending Comp

As of the primary election on October 24th, Heck outspent Davis by a factor of 4.4x, spending $154K versus $35K. With the lop-sided spending, it’s a bit surprising that Davis actually took the most votes in the primary, 4,295 compared to Heck’s 4,213 (the final contestant, Democrat Mark Holden took 2,782 votes). Granted, it’s an extremely slim victory of 82 votes, but when you compare dollars spent per vote, it’s a drastic difference: $36.72 for Heck compared to $8.14 for Davis.

As far as the run-off, Heck has maintained the spending edge and 4x multiplier, at least through the reporting period which ended on November 1st. We won’t get the full picture until the election is over. With that said, Davis did have about $85K left in her campaign account compared to Heck’s $22K, so she seems better positioned to dump money on mailers and get out the vote efforts in the final weeks of the election, although supplementary campaign finance filing show continued fundraising for Heck.

home-score

If you recall, another factor in this race is that some of the voters are currently Heck’s constituents in Metro Council District 11. Incumbents generally have something akin to a home filed advantage in elections. Voters in the district know the name and, unless the candidate in question has angered the constituency in some way, a certain amount of goodwill generally exists. State House District 69, while quite a bit larger than Metro Council District 11, does have some overlap. So given a home field advantage, how did Heck do in those shared precincts? First, a note… due to council redistricting and the fact that Heck ran unopposed for the District 11 seat, I’m not entirely certain all of the split precincts are within District 69, but I opted to include them all. The LSU game is going even worse than anticipated and I’m a bit too curmudgeonly right now to care about accuracy.

SRD69

Quick overview, Heck beat Davis in the vote count in only 4 of 15 precincts that he currently represents as the District 11 Metro Councilperson. That’s also after having spent 4.4x as much money as Davis up to the primary election. As they say, Houston, we may have a problem?

Still, it all remains to be seen what’s going to go down today. The difference in the total votes cast for each candidate was 82 votes in the primary. That’s a rounding error. Also remember that there were another 2,700 something votes cast for the Democrat that these two will be scrapping over. So far, Heck’s mailers have definitely been focused on convincing voters that he can work across the aisle. The last mailer I got from Davis was a pretty masterful negative ad giving 1o reasons why Heck shouldn’t get my vote. You know, as you do.

Happy Election Day Everybody!

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Small Town Diplomacy

Over the years, I’ve come to find rural, small-town politics to be among my most favorite. Small towns often pride themselves on being direct in their dealings and plain in their speech; the towns in Louisiana are certainly no exception. As a result, small-town political exchanges tend to be pretty lively. With this in mind, I read this article in the Advocate the other day concerning Pointe Coupee Parish.

I wasn’t disappointed. I learned two things about Pointe Coupee from this article:

1) You must have a nickname in order to hold public office in the Parish, preferrably something juvenile such as “Dewey” or “Sassy”.

2) If you are an outsider, do not attempt to render aid or provide assistance. Your attempts will be futile and ill-received.

Case in point: Officials from Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge Parishes offered first-hand experience and anecdotes concerning Pointe Coupee’s pending decision to abandon its traditional Police Jury for a Parish President & Council form of government. Apparently, certain Pointe Coupee elected officials decided the real reason for this meeting was to  “embarass”  their Parish and highlight its failings. Specifically, Pointe Coupee Parish School Board President James “Bado” Cline said:

“Our schools are rated higher than Iberville’s, Livingston is the crystal meth capital of the world … we have some issues with infrastructure and traffic (associated) with the new bridge. Is a parish president going to cancel that?” Cline asked rhetorically.

“I’m tired of experts from out of town coming in trying to embarrass us,” Cline said. “We’re doing better than them in a lot of aspects.”

Sure, that’s a reasonable assumption. These outside Parish officials have absolutley nothing better to do with their time than to come to another Parish in order to lord it over them. Apparently, Cline’s worldview was formed from old Charles Atlas advertisements from the middle of the last century.

Pointe Coupee Parish officials have sent off for their free Charles Atlas book.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Cline may have developed a bit of an inferiority complex. If Cline really thinks outside officials are there to simply kick sand in the face of Pointe Coupee rather than to offer advice, he probably shouldn’t be in government. Learning from those who have gone before you is a mark of wisdom; turning your back on the advice of others because you have an irrational fear that they’re trying to embarrass you is idiocy.

Plus, it looks like Pointe Coupee could use a little help. One of the benefits for abandoning the Police Jury, cited by a Pointe Coupee official, was that it would eliminate the ability of police jurors to demand parish workers cease working on a project in one district in order to work on a project in the juror’s own district. Are you kidding me? Apparently, Pointe Coupee has devolved into a series of fiefdoms. Granted, a Parish Council can still cause trouble. Come to think of it, Livingston Parish actually has experience in this area considering their recent run-ins with the State Auditor and their peicemeal approach to road repair and improvement (which sadly predates this blog, I really enjoyed following that one).

There’s no way I can close this post without commenting on the “fantastic” display of diplomacy on Cline’s part. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made several jabs at Livingston Parish’s expense concerning their crystal meth problem, but I don’t think I would ever use that as part of a public political statement. Here’s hoping Pointe Coupee gets better leadership as growth comes to their area.

-Politivore

P.S. While it is true that the Pointe Coupee Parish School District performed better than Iberville Parish, there are a good 51 school districts with higher scores than Pointe Coupee… including both West Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes.

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Is this thing on?

Greetings!

Welcome to Red Stick Forward, a blog discussing topics of local interest concerning my hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Unlike most of the blogs originating from Baton Rouge, this one speaks from a liberal and progressive viewpoint.  Yes, we do exist!

As for me, I’m a 31-year-old melanin-challenged XY-chromosome bearing adult who recently returned to Baton Rouge after experiencing the outside world. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, I’m a proud product of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. After graduating college in 1999, I enlisted in the military and bid a fond adieu to the South. I served in the US Army for six years, earning Airborne wings en route. An unexpected death in the family provided the impetus for my wife and me to relocate from Washington, DC to Baton Rouge, forever abandoning our continued service to national defense and diplomacy.

Now I find myself returned to the city of my birth. Baton Rouge has made significant strides in the decade that I have been absent. At the same time, it has regressed in many ways. I frequently find myself comparing the city to the other places I have lived. In some ways it surpasses; in too many others it falls short. Only time will tell if Baton Rouge is ready to move forward and become more than a community known for its devotion and accomplishment in the art of the tailgate.

Stay Tuned…

-Politivore

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