Campaign and party leaders examine Louisiana's 2020 election role
Louisiana's presidential primary is slated for this Saturday. With that vote largely a formality, campaign and party leaders are looking ahead to the general election and where Louisiana stands in the game plan.
President Donald Trump won the Pelican State by 20 points in 2016, but Louisianians recently reelected moderate Democrat John Bel Edwards to serve another term as governor. Both parties say they are optimistic about their chances this November.
"The president did well and will do well in Louisiana," said Paris Dennard, a communications adviser for the Republican Party. "It's because the president has an agenda that resonates with the people there."
Dennard says even in the times of the coronavirus, Louisianians will see the economy bounce back and trust the president's leadership. Dennard also says the president's record on justice reform, supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and opportunity zones will resonate with black voters in the state.
"The president is going to try to earn the vote and the respect of every black voter in America. He's not just going to settle for trying to get one percent, two percent, eight percent, six percent, 10 percent. He's going to go for 100 percent."
Dennard says the party does not fear a blue shift in the state, but Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk is optimistic they can play spoiler come November.
"I think the president is starting to become underwater, even here in Louisiana," said Handwerk.
He says rough economic conditions and a lack of leadership during the pandemic could lead to a Democratic upset in the general election. Handwerk also says a large early voter turnout from Democrats for the primary shows the energy they will rely on to win in November.
"I'm inspired by that. It shows our base is excited, ready to turn out, and they're going to turn out in big numbers this year."
Polls open Saturday at 7 am and close at 8 pm for the presidential primary.