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Cassidy Victory Signals Longtime Shift In Louisiana Politics

The defeat of incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu after 18 years in office could indicate a major shift in Louisiana politics. One expert sees Republicans taking charge for at least a generation.

University of New Orleans political science professor Ed Chervenak says a UNO Research Center survey conducted in October closely predicted what actually happened. It showed voters in a December runoff favoring Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy with 51 percent, over Senator Landrieu’s 43 percent. It was pretty close to the actual 56 to 44 percent final vote.

Chervenak says Democrats failed to connect with white working class voters.

“What we’re going to be looking at here in Louisiana, probably in the near future, is one significant political party and one insignificant political party," he said. "And that’s typically not healthy for the politics of any state.” 

When Landrieu took office 18 years ago, two-thirds of the state’s registered voters were Democrats. Now, it’s less than half.

“Factions will develop around certain candidates, certain personalities, or factions can develop based on region within the state," Chervenak said. "And that’s what we’re going to be looking at probably for the next generation or so.”   

Chervenak says Republicans are connecting with Louisiana voters the survey finds are culturally and economically conservative.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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