Race expected to play critical role in Louisiana elections

Race also is expected to play a crucial role in two competitive House races in the state.

Louisiana’s Senate race likely will come down to black and white.

“It always does in Louisiana,” said Albert Samuels, a political scientist at Southern University in Baton Rouge. “To some degree, we try to be polite about this. But there’s an underlying racial narrative to this whole race.”

Heavy turnout among black voters is seen as crucial to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s hopes for a third term.

Blacks make up 32 percent of the state’s population and 31 percent of registered voters. Historically, black voters tend to support Democrats. In 2008, when Landrieu last ran for re-election and President Barack Obama was on the ballot, 66 percent of registered black voters cast ballots, according to census data.

“Democrats can’t win in the South without black voters,” said Pearson Cross, head of the political science department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “The black voters are the most faithful and the largest constituency for Democrats in the South.”


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