Guv race tightening up at the gate
The governor’s race is tightening and could soon change dramatically. Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, the clear early frontrunner, has fallen to second place in one independent poll, behind Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle. At the same time, two prominent Democrats have emerged as potential candidates who could really shake things up for Vitter and Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards.
Qualifying for the Oct. 24 primary is Sept. 8-10, which leaves little time for late entries. Still, the talk of political circles last week was word that local businessman John Georges and New Orleans City Councilman Jason Williams are considering the race.
Meanwhile, Vitter may have bigger problems than the possibility of facing Angelle or Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, both Republicans, in the runoff. According to Kennedy’s latest survey, which was taken in late July, Vitter’s statewide support has declined significantly in recent months.
Kennedy’s surveys in May, June and July show Vitter falling from 28 to 21 percent — and that's without any sustained attacks against him. Meanwhile, Angelle has risen from the teens to 24 percent.
Most important, Angelle leads Vitter for the first time in an independent poll. Edwards runs a close third with 20 percent; Dardenne trails at 13 percent; “undecideds” are at 21 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus four percent. The numbers cited above include respondents who are committed to, and those who are “leaning” toward, a candidate.
The order of finish is the same without the leaners: Angelle, 16; Vitter, 15; Edwards, 14; Dardenne, 8; leaners and undecided, 47.
Kennedy attributes Vitter’s drop to a decline in support among several key constituencies — including Republicans. Since June, Vitter has fallen 5 to 11 percentage points among whites, Republicans, Evangelicals, women, and seniors.