Tuesday, December 12, 2006

La. Representative U.S. 2nd Congressional District Election

Overall stats:

62,106 people voted.
26,985 (43.4%) for Karen Carter.
35,121 (56.6%) for William Jefferson.
Jefferson Parish stats:
16,901 people voted.
4,967 (29.4%) for Karen Carter.
11,934 (70.6%) for William Jefferson.
Orleans Parish stats:
45,205 people voted.
22,018 (48.7%) for Karen Carter.
23,187 (51.3%) for William Jefferson.
Looking at those numbers, we can make various conclusions. But, we CANNOT make ANY conclusions about the motive of individual voters. However, a lot of people are making a few conclusions about the motives of Jefferson Parish voters.

Mr. Clio, from World Class N.O.:
I would like America to know that Congressman William Jefferson, while under investigation for corruption, took 70 percent of the vote in Jefferson Parish (the Westbank portion of his district). That suburban vote (which looks demographically a lot like Houston or Atlanta)--not the city of New Orleans--is what put Congressman Jefferson back in D.C. for another term. THANKS WESTBANK! THANKS HARRY LEE!
Wet Bank Guide:
If you voted for Dollar Bill or stayed home and let him be re-elected; if you voted Republican in the past and acquiesce in (if not endorse) the sort of politics that left him unindicted on the odd chance he might be re-elected to provide some future political advantage or a West Banker who helped send a future felon back in our name on the odd chance you might do better next time, don't be putting on your Bush jersey tomorrow. You don't deserve to wear it. If you want to be part of team New Orleans, then you damned well better start acting like it.
Moldy City:
I heard some Jefferson Parish official say something about electing somebody from Jefferson next time; apparently, they want both of the Jefferson/Orleans seats. With people on the east bank of Jefferson thinking in terms of Jefferson/Orleans, and people on the west bank of both parishes thinking East Bank/West Bank, it could happen. Anyone but Shepherd.
People Get Ready:
Meanwhile, it’s disheartening for us in Orleans Parish, who have been working so hard to cleanse Louisiana of its stain of corruption, that white Jefferson Parish voters cynically voted for the crook thinking that he’d be indicted, and they’d then be given an opportunity to elect someone who more closely resembles voters in white-flight Jefferson Parish.

***

How incredibly ironic it is that, for all of the criticism we get in New Orleans for corruption, it’s actually Republican voters in Jefferson Parish who are voting against Louisiana’s best interests. Is cynicism a “conservative” value? What do those people tell their children about how they voted?

Jefferson Parish is making a lot of money on New Orleans’ problems — all the big box hardware retailers in Jefferson are booking record sales, and record tax receipts (and … ahem … Sheriff Harry Lee, who had his little tantrum over Karen Carter’s candidacy, is the official Jefferson Parish tax collector). It’s really a shame, then, that Jefferson Parish wouldn’t be working harder to help New Orleans, and cooperate in political decisions that benefit the region and the state, not political parties and personal vendettas.

***

I only hope the rest of the country won’t punish New Orleans for the political errors of politicians elected by the bastard political coalition of white Republican racists, and distrustful blacks who vote loyalty more than their consciences.
Your Right Hand Thief:
Unfortunately, Jefferson Parish was also involved. And they thought it was important to elect the crook, because otherwise dehydrated disaster victims might storm across the bridge to loot food and water and wine coolers from Greatna's precious bedroom communities.

***

So da "Best Bank" elects a legislator who supposedly understands "their side of the river" to a Congress where he will be an ineffectual outsider. In doing so, they reinforce the national impression that New Orleans is too stupid to self-govern, and utterly hopeless.
Cliff’s Crib:
The most important thing is that the numbers from this election prove why this area will always be a joke. Look at the numbers from Jefferson Parish. I know the people in Jefferson Parish don't like the fact that they look racist to the rest of the country after the Spike Lee movie. They may not be racist as much as they are stupid.

***

Basically, the people of Jefferson sold the city out for a personal vendetta. Jefferson and Nagin together is like political suicide for the most part. They don't care what Jefferson does in DC because most of their houses are dry and their families are not split. Their side of the levee didn't fall. This is why the people that live in the New Orleans city limits cannot be tricked into buying into that regional approach bullshit. The regional approach is going to end up just like the levee system, public schools and every other thing. In the end the people living in the city will get the short end of the stick.
First, let’s talk numbers. Only 16,901 people voted in Jefferson Parish out of 62,106 overall. That’s 27.2% of the all voters in the election. 11,934 Jeffersonians voted for Jefferson. While that is 70.6% of the Jefferson Parish vote, it is only 19.2% of the overall vote. In a runoff, you can’t get elected with 19.2% of the vote. Therefore, to say Jefferson Parish elected William Jefferson is wrong. He got the bulk of his votes from New Orleans.

Yes, the percentages were close in New Orleans. But William Jefferson won there. If he had won in Jefferson Parish by the same margin, he still would have won the election.

Second, Louisiana’s 2nd U.S. Congressional District is not only made up of New Orleans. Jefferson Parish voters will, and it is their right to, vote in their interests. Karen Carter did not appeal to Jefferson Parish voters *at all*, much less as the lesser of two evils, which JP President Aaron Broussard pointed out:
Broussard said the congressman won overwhelmingly in suburban precincts because "Karen Carter was a stranger to Jefferson Parish." Even Shepherd, whose state Senate district covers parts of downtown New Orleans in addition to most of Jefferson Parish's West Bank, enjoyed some crossover appeal.
We can not and never will know the motives of Jefferson Parish voters. But, I think it is logically wrong to conclude that it means the people of Jefferson Parish don’t want to be on “team New Orleans.” Karen Carter may have been the best candidate for New Orleans. But, I think it is obvious that she wasn't the best for JP.

Third, Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District is gerrymandered to include districts in both parishes which would tend to vote for an African-American candidate. While racism could explain why a “bastard political coalition of white Republican racists” would stay home and not vote at all, I don’t think it explains why those who did vote voted heavily for Jefferson.

Fourth, I don’t believe that Jefferson Parish voters went to the polls believing they could install one of their own in the seat in a second-chance election after the (in my opinion, not-so) inevitable indictment of William Jefferson. Given that there are so many more New Orleans voters than Jefferson Parish voters in the district, I can’t see how a Jeffersonian could win without broad crossover popularity, in which case everyone would like that candidate and not have a problem that he or she is from JP.

Fifth, not everyone thought that Karen Carter was the better candidate for New Orleans. This is why we have elections. A person is not stupid because they don’t vote for the candidate you support. They may be stupid because they believe stupid things that lead them to vote for their candidate. But you can not use the evidence of who they voted for to label them stupid.

Adrastos, as always, has a good read on why Carter lost:
The biggest mistakes the Carter camp made were fueled by overconfidence. It was a *terrible* mistake to refuse to appear on TV with Dollar Bill unless he was in the studio with Princess BOLD. Dollar Bill was willing to appear via satellite from Washington but Carter's handlers denounced that as an attemp to control how he was presented. Yo, Ms, Carter, you were the challenger, you were not well known; ANY appearance with the incumbent put you on an equal footing. The reason for this monumental cockup seems to be the Carter people's belief that victory was inevitable. That led them to act as if she were the incumbent instead of an unknown and untested challenger.
Could it be that Carter discounted the JP vote because she thought she would get a higher percentage of the more populous New Orleans vote? It’s not a bad strategy because almost three times more people voted in New Orleans than JP. If that was her strategy, then she did not get enough *New Orleans* votes. That turns things around a little.

After saying all that, I don’t think Jefferson Parish is doing enough to help New Orleans recover. JP is in a unique position to be a positive force in the recovery of NOLA. New Orleans is geographically isolated from St. Tammany. St. Bernard and Plaquemines are in the midst of their recoveries which, by scale, are worse than New Orleans. But Jefferson Parish is right there, watching and, for some reason, waiting. A JP-NOLA combo would be a juggernaut.

I respect all the bloggers I referenced above. They are on my blogroll because I admire them and have learned from them. Please do not take this disagreement with you as a personal attack. I am not calling anyone out.

I just think blaming Jefferson Parish for William Jefferson’s election and then piling on everything else you don’t like about the parish is a distraction from the goal of recovery… and not a good distraction like the Saints.

8 comments:

Schroeder said...

Good comments -- really nice. I liked your remarks about how Jefferson Parish and Orleans should be working together more.

Unfortunately, your voter analysis doesn't add up the same way mine does.

If you assume that Jefferson Parish voted in the same percentages for Karen Carter as did Orleans voters, 48.7 percent, that puts about 8,230 additional voters in the Karen Carter column, and takes them out of the Jefferson column.

That would have made it a much closer race (Carter: 30,248; Jefferson: 31,857). Carter would have needed just another 1,609 votes to get over the top, and those could have been obtained if white voters in Jefferson Parish were less influenced by the shameful campaign of fear and racism which Harry Lee perpetrated.

Now, we know that Jefferson Parish doesn't look like Orleans Parish -- at least not the same before Hurricane Katrina scattered most of New Orleans population to other places. Orleans Parish was about two-thirds black -- and may still vote that way, even if the population isn't back in their homes. Jefferson Parish, on the other hand, is two-thirds white.

Obviously, both Bill Jefferson and Karen Carter were black candidates. In my book, that doesn't matter. But we all know that it makes a difference in the minds of black voters, and matters to many white voters (in particular in JP). As we saw in the Nagin/Landrieu race), black voters often vote for the black candidate. I won't go into my thoughts on that, except to mention that Jefferson's appeal to them that he was the victim of a prejudicial attacks by the administration seemed to be effective.

White voters, however, ought to have been more at ease voting for one or another candidate. Of course, in Republican Jefferson Parish, some might have argued that Karen Carter was the more liberal candidate, but I didn't hear any of that talk before the election. Instead, it was all about her "fat mouth" in Spike Lee's movie, and how those West Bankers didn't want those "criminals" crossing the bridge.

From the analysis I did, white voters turned out overwhelmingly in favor of Karen Carter -- in Orleans Parish!

So, yes, I think it is absolutely fair to say that West Bank Jefferson Parish voters made the difference in this election, by voting for a crook instead of someone who was making an argument to uphold basic human decency, if not Constitutional rights.

We are all suffering the ridicule and suspicion of the rest of the country now, yes, thanks to racists in Jefferson Parish.

One day, those West Bankers may need to cross that bridge into Orleans Parish. How would they be treated?

bayoustjohndavid said...

Even before seeing this, I was mentally (very little personal computer time at work) going through the points of a "don't blame (or overrate) Harry Lee" post. Before the last few days of the election I thought that the only people who would be motivated to turnout were anti-Jefferson voters --mostly white New Orleanians. Since the election, I've said that the main reason why Carter lost is that they didn't turn out to vote either. Even if Jefferson got 90% of the black vote that did turn out, 90% of black voters didn't bother to vote for him. The same thing holds, to a slightly smaller degree, for both black and white Jeffersonians.

That said, some Jefferson Parish officials -- I didn't attempt to mindread voters -- were angling to get a JP politician into that seat. That's their right, it's also my right to say that they already have the first district. In the interview that I heard with Jackie Clarkson, she sounded like she felt more strongly connected to the West Bank of Jefferson than the East Bank of New Orleans. Fact is, she was stupid to gloat about the West Bank flexing its muscle. Most importantly its divisive, but also, as you point out, it didn't really flex its muscle. And there's certainly no reason that I can think of not to remember her parochialism if she ever runs for office again.

I think you're a little too hard on Jefferson Parish about not helping N.O. I've been told of Jefferson Parish politicians telling neighborhood groups that they need to support New Orleans' recovery. Maybe they're not actually doing much, but their pretty words about unity aren't only for the camera. Remember, it was Nagin who showed disdain for regionalism.

The big overlooked factor in the election was people overrating the effects of an indictment, IMO. I found myself wondering whether an indictment alone can force somebody to give up a seat. It can't, but from the indictment talk, I doubt many people know that.

adrastos said...

Thanks for the kind words, Po Boy. I've gotten a lot of shit during this election cycle.

I completely agree with you about the voters of JP. Carter was a shite candidate who *could* have won if she'd shown more guts and worked harder on the West Bank.

Mike said...

New Orleans is a very corrupt city. One of their most corrupt citizens will soon stan trial. Stan Barre will go to trial on January 16, 2007. The apple does not fall far from the tree. Crime seems to be a part of Mr. Barre's family.

His son, Stan Barre, will go to trial on February 20, 2007. He is charged with burglary in the first degree, theft in the first degree and theft of a firearm. The court proceedings can be viewed at: http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/cfapps/linx/calendar/GetCriminalCase.cfm?cause_num=06-1-03589-7

Anonymous said...

May I say "fair and balanced" without conjuring up visions of Fox News? Ewwww! :)

Anonymous said...

Real numbers tell the story. The only real numbers are the votes. Polls don't mean shit.

anonymouse said...

If only New Orleans Cared about New Olreans


If it had been a concert at the High Noon Tuesday evening it would have been a sold out show. Four hundred ninety supporters of Madison's Air America affiliate, the Mic, packed into the venue with more spilling out onto the patio and into the parking lot. Multiple speakers, including politicians and Mic advertisers, took to the stage to express their concerns and frustration over the decision by Clear Channel to dump the progressive talk format and replace it with FOX Sports. But those speakers, while they all brought important messages, weren't the most striking part of the evening. What struck a chord in me was the casual conversation after the event from unsuspecting folks who sounded like they were snapped in the ass with a towel. They were saying things like, "Clear Channel doesn't care about Madison," "why does Clear Channel get to make our decisions," "Clear Channel owns too much."

It struck a nerve because it has been a long time since there has been casual talk like that in a public space.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I haven't replied to your thoughtful post. I appreciate your blog and particularly this discussion.

Using early returns, I was actually wrong on my facts by saying that Orleans voted for Carter. Orleanians voted for Jefferson by a small margin.

I guess the thing that got to me was the cynical voting by many who hate Jefferson. Shepherd's endorsement bugged me too.

Carter ran a bad campaign, just like Mitch before her. You're right: that was the main problem.

This election made me believe even more firmly in regional government. I think Orleans, upper Jefferson, and maybe even upper St. Bernard should be merged. Yes, that's pie in the sky.

Anyway, keep at it. I enjoy your work.