Wednesday, November 3

Another Louisiana anecdote, but this one's pretty sad (or maybe not):

My state is home to perhaps the most conservative Congressional district in the nation- District 1, much of which consists of the area directly north of Lake Pontchartrain across from New Orleans. This happens to be one of the fastest growing areas in the state.

Voters in CD 1 yesterday backed solid conservative Bobby Jindal, who last fall narrowly lost a race for governor, with 78% of the vote. Some allege that Jindal's Indian-American heritage may have been a factor in his 2003 defeat in a state where some residents, perhaps, are still trying to shed outdated attitudes on race.

The next highest vote-getter against Jindal in the race yesterday? White supremacist, former national secretary of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization and long-time David Duke aide Roy Armstrong.

Duke won a term in Congress (Correction: in the state Legislature, not Congress) from the district in the late 1980s, and garnered 39% of the statewide vote in losing a gubernatorial runoff to Edwin Edwards (currently in prison) in 1991. Duke got 43% in a losing bid for the Senate the previous year, and finished 4th with 12% in a Senate primary in 1996.

The state party fully backed Jindal's move from Baton Rouge (in CD 6) to Metairie (in CD 1) so he could run for David Vitter's open seat. There was some grumbling about the Hillary-style carpetbagging that effectively took GOP state rep Steve Scalise out of the race, but clearly Jindal won over voters.

Interestingly, Jindal won approval in his district with the same percentage as did the Louisiana Marriage Amendment statewide in September. The amendment was struck down by a lower court and is awaiting review by the state Supreme Court in December, and I hope to post on it very soon (now that the election is past).

So what does this mean? Perhaps the district is moving away from the extreme "conservatism" that elected Duke to Congress (Correction: to the state Legislature, not to Congress) and has become a beacon of conservative progress with the election of a man of Indian-American heritage.

UPDATE: I recently discovered an error in this post. David Duke was not elected to Congress, but to the state Legislature in the late 1980s...my apologies!

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