Finally, the elections are over! The phone calls and political television commercials have ceased. The people of Calcasieu Parish and the State of Louisiana have spoken. All local SWLA candidates are to be congratulated for running “clean and upbeat” campaigns. There was very little “negative” campaigning in the Calcasieu Parish races. That shows our strength of character in SWLA.
Generally, throughout Louisiana, as the rest of the Nation, Republican candidates defeated their opposition by a 2 to 1 margin, gathering 67% of the vote in the majority of races.
The GOP “Red tidal wave” of the November 4th election continued into the December run off. This was evident in Calcasieu Parish where almost all Republican candidates rode a tidal wave of GOP voters to victory in judges and school board races. The lone exception was Jamie Bice’s win over Rob McCorquodale in the City Court A race. Jamie’s campaign was overwhelming in north and east Lake Charles while holding his vote in south Lake Charles. The GOP “red tidal wave” was apparent in south Lake Charles where Republican turnout vote soared. At the precincts in Prien Lake Park the GOP vote equaled a record 80-90%. The Republicans had one agenda: the defeat of Senator Mary Landrieu. Republican candidate Dr. Bill Cassidy carried Calcasieu Parish by a 63-37% margin and statewide 56-44% for a resounding victory. Senator Landrieu had carried Calcasieu Parish in each of her previous races.
There is one downside to almost all Federal elections. When Congressional incumbents lose, they and all of their staffs are literally “fired from their jobs” by the people. That is a “fact of life” for Congressional staffers, no matter what level of service they have provided over their tenure on staff. Some may be fortunate to continue in a Federal capacity, but in Louisiana Federal staff positions are few, dependent on party affiliation, and highly competitive.
We wish to take a moment and recognize one such Federal staff member whose current tenure has come to an end. Mark Herbert, SWLA Regional Director for Senator Mary Landrieu, has been a compatriot and friend for the past ten years. After the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Mark and I worked tirelessly, side-by-side to assist with the recovery of Southwest Louisiana. We hosted the President, Vice-President, Governors, Senators, Congressmen, military Generals, and other dignitaries that came to tour our destruction and the ensuing recovery process, then helped guide their attention to Southwest Louisiana. It is Congress that approves and directs recovery and mitigation dollars through FEMA and State agencies. Since Members of Congress cannot be continuously on-site to determine just where the “recovery funds” are needed, they must rely on their regional staff. Federal staffers literally become their “eyes and ears” to the needs of State, parish and city governments, whether an emergency exists or just an everyday basis. Mark Herbert has done an exemplary job supporting Southwest Louisiana and will be sorely missed. Thank you Mark for your service to SWLA and a job well done!