Louisiana House Vacancy

Two days ago, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA-5) surprisingly announced that he would retire from Congress. Yesterday we find he means to exit right away, leaving mid-term in order to accept a position in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) administration as the state’s Veterans’ Affairs Director.

Jindal (R) has already taken action and defined the 5th District special election calendar. As you most likely remember, Louisiana employs the jungle primary system, which means all candidates appear on the same primary ballot regardless of political party affiliation. If a candidate receives an outright majority of the vote, said individual is elected. If no candidate secures at least 50 percent plus one vote, then the top two finishers advance to a final run-off election.

In this instance, Gov. Jindal has chosen Oct. 19 for the first election, with the run-off to occur on Nov. 16. The candidate filing deadline is a quick Aug. 21, therefore giving prospective candidates little time to decide whether they will make the race.

Already, two state legislators have announced their special election candidacies. Republican state Sen. Neil Riser and Democratic state Rep. Marcus Hunter will both soon form campaign committees. Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy admits that he is considering running, saying that he believes his “centrist Democrat” philosophy is in line with the majority of the 5th District’s constituency.

The 5th CD consumes all of northeastern Louisiana and then takes the upper half of the state’s eastern tail. The Alexandria and Monroe areas are the largest population centers, but each metropolitan region fails to top 65,000 residents.

Mitt Romney defeated President Obama here 61-38 percent in 2012. John McCain carried the seat 62-37 percent over Mr. Obama in 2008. Republicans are the early favorites to hold the district.

2013 Polling Notes:

Two new polls were released covering northeastern 2013 political action.

New Jersey

In the Garden State, Quinnipiac University (Aug. 1-5; 2,042 registered New Jersey voters) tested the upcoming governor’s race where incumbent Chris Christie (R) appears to be steaming toward re-election.

Though the Q-Poll shows its tightest race to date, it still gives Christie a huge 58-30 percent lead over Democratic nominee Barbara Buono, a state senator. The governor scores an almost unanimous 91-4 percent split among Republicans and records landslide proportions within the Independent ranks (66-22 percent). He even gets 30 percent of Democratic voters (as compared to Buono;’s 57 percent).

New York Mayor

Siena College, which regularly polls the New York campaigns, this time teamed up with the New York Times to survey the Democratic mayoral primary scheduled for Sept. 10. If no candidate receives 40 percent of the vote, a run-off will be held on Oct. 1 between the top two finishers.

The poll (Aug. 2-7; 505 likely New York City Democratic primary voters) shows continued erosion for scandal-ridden former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who drops to just 10 percent preference in fourth place. City Council President Christine Quinn again places first, but with a tepid 25 percent of the respondents’ hypothetical votes. Former city comptroller Bill Thompson appears to be the big gainer, leap-frogging into second place with 16 percent. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is a close third place finisher with 14 percent.

But the news gets better for Thompson when the voting pool is further defined. Among those who say they will “definitely” vote in the mayor’s race, Quinn leads 26-19 percent over the ex-comptroller. Continuing in the positive vein for Thompson, among those 65 years and older, always the most reliable voting block, the former city official actually pulls into an 18-16 lead over Quinn.

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