By Jim Ellis
Feb. 5, 2021 — In the Baton Rouge area, a pre-election favorite shows a solid lead, and in Texas, a surprise candidate who previously was the NV-3 GOP front-runner in the Las Vegas area enters a Texas race.
LA-2A new survey for the upcoming March 20 special election in the New Orleans-Baton Rouge vacant 2nd Congressional District places the pre-election favorite into a discernible lead.
While state Sen. Troy Carter (D-New Orleans), who House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the Louisiana Democratic Party, and resigned Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) have all endorsed, posts a 28-19 percent lead over state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans), he is nowhere near the 50 percent mark required to elect outright. Therefore, it appears the odds are strong that we will see a secondary runoff election on April 24.
A Silas Lee study of 450 “chronic” LA-2 voters conducted during the February 12-14 period but released only this week, gives Sen. Carter the nine-point advantage within a field of 15 candidates – eight Democrats, four Republicans, two Independents, and one Libertarian – thus, the pair of competing local state senators appear headed toward an April 24 runoff election. Finishing a distant third in the Lee poll with just six percent support is Baton Rouge community activist Gary Chambers, Jr. (D).
While Sen. Carter was dominant in New Orleans, he falls into third position when moving to the district’s Baton Rouge sector. There, Chambers led Sens. Peterson and Carter with a 14-12-7 percent respective spread.
The state’s vacant 5th District also will be settled within the same schedule, but no relevant polling data is readily available for that race. In both contests, early voting begins this Saturday, March 6, and will continue only through March 13, a week before actual Election Day voting takes place.
A double-Democratic 2nd District runoff election is the likely outcome of the March 20 vote in a district where only 23 percent of the people voted for ex-President Trump last November. In the 5th, Julia Letlow (R), the widow of late-Rep-Elect Luke Letlow (R), is favored to win the seat and has a chance to record an outright victory though the special election field in this situation is also large, featuring a total of 12 candidates, nine of whom are Republicans.
Filing closed for the special election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District Tuesday, and it appears 20 candidates have submitted their documentation to the various political parties. In Texas, candidates file through the state party structure and not with the Secretary of State or local county officials as is the case in most other places.
A last-minute oddity emerged as a surprise in this race. One of the final filers is former Nevada congressional candidate Dan Rodimer (R). He ran in 2020 and came within three percentage points of unseating Rep. Susie Lee (D) in NV-3. To suggest that Rodimer will be successful in parachuting into the Texas district simply to run for Congress with no background in the area appears to be just short of being ludicrous. It is even more striking when being held up against the person who is perhaps the leading candidate in the race, the late Congressman Ron Wright’s widow, Susan Wright (R).
The preliminary final field consists of 11 Republicans, eight Democrats, and one Independent. Among the 20 candidates, only one is an elected official, state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie), who was elected for the first time in November.
The sheer number of candidates suggests that we will see a runoff election that will be scheduled after the special primary. This is likely to be the most competitive of the five special elections that will eventually be run to fill US House vacancies. In his two victories in this politically changing area, Rep. Wright scored a pair of 53 percent finishes, suggesting the potential of a close finish for this special election cycle.