Lack Of Voter Enthusiasm Expected To Translate To Low Voter Turnout In 3rd Congressional District Run-off Between Charles Boustany And Jeff Landry
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- Voter enthusiasm for Saturday's 3rd congressional district run-off election between Republicans Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry is almost non-existent, according to the head of the political science department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Voter turnout is not expected to be high during the run-off for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the perceived negativity prevalent in both campaigns, Dr. Pearson Cross said. Thus, Cross believes only a small minority of voters will make the effort to go out to the polls.
"I think the people that are going out are either true believers or they're going out out of duty," Cross said.
Boustany and Landry were forced to run for the same district after redistricting merged Landry's 3rd district and Boustany's 7th district. Both men are considered conservative Republicans, though Landry has tried to cast Boustany as a liberal representative for the Washington, D.C. establishment.
The two campaigns have traded back-and-forth attacks at each other since well before the general election. Landry has blasted Boustany for voting to raise the debt ceiling and for voting to give himself a pay raise. Boustany has fired back, accusing Landry of failing to pay taxes on time and of failing to show up for important votes in Congress.
While the negativity alone could hurt voter turnout, the perception, Cross said, is that the two candidates are battling to paint themselves as more conservative than the other. This move could likely deter Democrats from voting as well.
"Well some people, it's [the negative campaigning] going to keep away," Cross said, "and Democrats fall into this category, just saying, 'Oh good grief, it's a shootout between two conservative Republicans.'"
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, whose office oversees elections in the state, also believes voter turnout Saturday will be low. He expects turnouts will be somewhere between 20 and 25 percent.