Capitol Access

  • Hosted by Wallis Watkins

Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy.

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The big news out of Washington this week is house Democrats unveiling of two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress surrounding his dealings with Ukraine and conduct during the subsequent investigation.

As the inquiry continues, members of Louisiana's congressional delegation on key committees and in leadership roles are positioned to influence these historic proceedings.

Here to discuss is Elizabeth Crisp, Washington Correspondent for The Advocate. 

Democrats have a formula-- a recipe for success in Louisiana elections. Demographer Greg Rigamer explains.

"You need, as a Democrat, to win 90% of the African American voter and a third of the white vote," Rigamer said.

And African Americans need to account for at least 30% of the votes cast.

"That's been the formula that has held true for every every race since really 2003," he added.

With the 2019 election behind him, Governor John Bel Edwards’ focus has shifted from winning a second term to figuring out how to get his initiatives through an even more conservative legislature.

He talked about his priorities last week at his first press conference since the election.

By now, you have no doubt heard that on Saturday night, Governor John Bel Edwards won re-election over Republican challenger Eddie Rispone. 

But how did the Democrat incumbent score victory in ruby-red, Louisiana?

To talk through the results, I'm joined by demographer and Edward's campaign consultant, Greg Rigamer.

On any given day there are an estimated 12,000 people in Louisiana being held in parish jails awaiting trial. For the most part, these are people who haven't been convicted of a crime-- meaning they retain the right to vote.

But while they may be eligible to vote by law, the harsh realities of life behind bars amount to 'practical disenfranchisement.'

Louisiana Governor's Race Enters Final Week

Nov 12, 2019

The Louisiana governor's race is too close to call as it enters its final week. National political analysts have described the race as a toss-up and local polling shows incumbent John Bel Edwards and GOP challenger Eddie Rispone neck-and-neck as they make their final pitches to voters.

On this week's Capitol Access, Stephanie Grace, columnist for The New Orleans Advocate joins the program to discuss the race.

More than 89,000 Louisianans cast their ballots on Saturday in the first day of early voting in the gubernatorial runoff, setting a new record for first day turnout.

GOP challenger Eddie Ripsone is vying to unseat Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards, who is seeking a second term as governor of Louisiana.

Preliminary reports from the Secretary of State show that about 2,500 more votes were cast on Saturday than the first day of early voting in the 2016 presidential election-- the previous high-water mark-- and surpassing the first day turnout in last month's primary by more than 12,000 votes.

On this week's Capitol Access, pollster John Couvillon of JMC Analytics and Polling discusses the demographic breakdown of early voters and how it might impact the eventual results of the election.

Five weeks separate the gubernatorial primary and runoff in the race for Louisiana governor and this week marks the halfway point. Primary voters whittled down the field to two candidates—Republican businessman Eddie Rispone and the incumbent, Democrat John Bel Edwards.

The top-three candidates met in televised debates three times ahead of the primary and a few more times in candidate forums around the state. But that hasn't been the case in the runoff.

On Wednesday, Edwards and Rispone will meet face-to-face in the first, and likely only, debate before voters head to the polls November 16th.

Pearson Cross, political science professor and the Associate Dean of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette College of Liberal Arts, previews the showdown.

After months of campaigning as a political outsider and self-financing his bid to become Louisiana’s governor to the tune of $11 million, Eddie Rispone is now welcoming the endorsement and support of the Louisiana Republican Party.

Throughout the primary contest, GOP leaders had been wary of returning to the partisan in-fighting that cleared the way for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ long-shot victory 2015.

They took a wait-and-see approach, confident that one of their candidates would earn a spot in a runoff against Edwards.

What's Next in the Race for Louisiana Governor?

Oct 16, 2019

Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, and Republican businessman Eddie Rispone are headed to a November 16 runoff.

Edwards earned 47 percent of the votes cast in the primary-- 20 percentage points higher than Rispone. But when you factor in the votes cast for Abraham, the top two Republicans combined for 51 percent of the vote, signaling a tough road ahead for Edwards.

Here to talk about the results and what happens next is Robert Hogan, chairman of Louisiana State University's political science department.

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