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West Virginia’s Jim Justice is South’s most popular governor; Georgia’s Brian Kemp the least

Morning Consult poll shows Democratic governors with aggressive COVID-19 strategies with higher approval than GOP governors who have resisted mandates

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

(CFP) – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is the South’s most popular chief executive, with Alabama’s Kay Ivey close behind in new polls on gubernatorial approval from the polling firm Morning Consult.

The polls, taken over the course of the last four months and released November 11, also show that Georgia Republican Brian Kemp’s approval rating among registered voters was just 42%, making him the region’s least popular chief executive as he heads into what is expected to be a tough re-election battle next year against furious opposition from Donald Trump.

The poll in Kentucky had better news for Democrat Andy Beshear, whose approval rating stood at 54%, despite taking considerable fire from Republicans over his COVID-19 policies.

Beshear will face voters again in 2023, as will Mississippi Republican Tate Reeves. However, the approval rating for Reeves, who may face a primary challenge from House Speaker Philip Gunn, stood at just 49%, making him and Kemp the only two Southern governors with approval ratings below 50% ahead of a run for his third term.

Morning Consult did not report disapproval numbers, so it was unclear if Reeves and Kemp were actually under water in their approval numbers, with more people disapproving than approving.

The approval rating for Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, who has taken the leading in fighting mask and vaccine mandates, stood at 52% ahead of a Democratic challenge in 2022. Texas’s Greg Abbott, who has taken a similar line of resistance against mandates, had an approval rating of 50%.

Three of the region’s Democratic governors who have been more aggressive with COVID-19 mitigation measures – Beshear, North Carolina’s Roy Cooper and Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards – had higher approval ratings than DeSantis and Abbott, although within the poll’s margin of error.

Justice’s approval rating stood at 65%, despite a string of headlines about financial and regulatory problems for companies owned by his family and an odd dispute about whether he should be hired to coach a boy’s high school basketball team.

Ivey, who became governor in 2017 when her predecessor resigned in a sex scandal, had an approval rating at 62%, as she heads into a re-election race in which she will be heavily favored.

However, she, too, has run afoul of Trump over cancellation of a June rally in Mobile, and he is reportedly trying to find a primary challenger to run against her.

Tennessee’s Bill Lee and Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt also appear to be in strong shape for 2022, with Lee’s approval at 55% and Stitt’s at 54%.

The other Southern governor up next year, South Carolina’s Henry McMaster, stood at 52%.

Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson has a 57% approval rating as he heads toward the exit due to term limits – despite being one of the very few elected Republicans willing to offer criticism of Trump.

Hutchinson has said he will not back Trump if he runs for the White House again in 2024 and that relitigating the 2020 election would be a “recipe for disaster.” He has raised his national profile in recent months, with numerous appearances on Sunday talk shows, prompting speculation that he might make his own presidential run in 2024.

Kemp has drawn Trump’s active wrath for refusing to go along with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in the Peach State. Former Republican U.S. Senator David Perdue is considering a primary challenge, and the GOP nominee will likely be facing Democrat Stacey Abrams, whom Kemp narrowly beat in 2018.

Two Southern Democratic governors who are in the middle of their second and final term – Edwards and Cooper – had positive approval ratings, at 53% and 52%, respectively.

Morning Consult gathered the responses from July 21 to October 20 among registered voters in each state. The margin of error was +/-4%.

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Louisiana US. Sen. Bill Cassidy is only Southern Republican to support Jan. 6 commission

All 5 Southern Democrats vote for bipartisan independent panel to take deep dive into Capitol assault by pro-Trump mob

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

WashingtonWASHINGTON (CNN) — U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana stood alone among his Southern Republican colleagues Friday in supporting formation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

cassidy

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana

The bill setting up the commission died after supporters fell six votes short of the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who said the panel would add an “extraneous layer” of investigation into events at the U.S. Capitol, which was stormed by a pro-Trump mob trying to block certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.

All five Southern Senate Democrats — Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia — voted in favor of the independent probe.

Eighteen Southern Republicans voted no, while four did not vote, including U.S. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who, along with Cassidy, voted to convict Donald Trump in an impeachment trial for his actions that day.

The three other Southern Republicans who did not vote on the commission bill were Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Richard Shelby of Alabama. All three had previously indicated that they were opposed to the commission.

In a statement defending his decision not to support the commission, Burr said several investigations are already underway “being led by the committees with jurisdiction, and I believe, as I always have, this is the appropriate course. I don’t believe establishing a new commission is necessary or wise.”

But Cassidy warned his colleagues that if the independent commission wasn’t approved, Democrats in the House would push ahead with an investigation by a select committee “the nature of which will be entirely dictated by Democrats and would stretch on for years.”

The proposed investigative commission — modeled after the panel that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 — would have had 10 members, half appointed by each party. Subpoenas could only have been issued if agreed to on both sides, and the investigation would have wrapped up by the end of 2021, nine months before the 2022 midterm election.

When the measure passed the House, 35 Republicans had voted for it. But when it got over to the Senate, McConnell began urging GOP members to oppose it as unnecessary and potentially politically detrimental.

Trump also came out firmly against the idea, calling it a “Democrat trap” and castigating House Republicans who supported it.

Manchin, the leading centrist voice among Senate Democrats, had been particularly forceful in lobbying his Republican colleagues to support the investigation, saying there was “no excuse for Republicans not to vote for this unless they don’t want to know the truth.”

But Manchin also refused to budge on his long-standing opposition to eliminating the filibuster, the procedure that allowed Republicans to block the commission even though 54 senators were in favor of it.

The Republicans who voted against formation of the commission were:

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Democratic State Senator Troy Carter wins open Louisiana U.S. House seat

Carter defeats fellow State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson in 2nd District runoff

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — The Democratic establishment has claimed another victory in its ongoing battle with progressive insurgents, with Louisiana State Senator Troy Carter winning an intra-party runoff Saturday to claim the 2nd U.S. House District seat.

U.S. Rep.-elect Troy Carter, D-Louisiana

Carter won 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent for State Senator Karen Carter-Peterson. He  will replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.

“We’ve had a long, hard-fought campaign, and God has blessed us with a victory,” Carter said in a victory address to supporters after the vote. “Your voice was heard at the ballot box, and now I want to go to Washington to be your voice.”

Carter, who led in the first round of voting in April, was endorsed by Richmond and also had support from much of the Democratic establishment and major unions.

Carter-Peterson had support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and from liberal grassroots group such as Democracy for America and Our Revolution, a group spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Carter-Peterson was trying to become the first black woman ever elected to Congress from the Pelican State.

The majority black 2nd District includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between the two cities.

Carter-Peterson carried the parts of the district in and around Baton Rouge, but Carter beat her in the two largest parishes, Orleans and Jefferson.

His win will expand the Democratic majority in the House from two to three seats, with three Democratic-leaning seats also vacant in Florida, New Mexico and Ohio. Two Republican-held seats are open in Texas and Ohio.

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Runoff Saturday for open Louisiana U.S. House seat

Democratic State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson vying in 2nd District race

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor

NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — Voters in Louisiana’s 2nd U.S. House District will go to the polls Saturday to decide which of two Democratic state senators from New Orleans will be their next representative in Congress.

State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson are competing in a runoff to replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.

Polls for in-person voting open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Saturday.

State Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson

Carter, who has support from much of the Democratic establishment and major unions, led in the first round of voting in April, ahead of Carter-Peterson, who has support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and from liberal grassroots group such as Democracy for America and Our Revolution, a group spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Should she prevail on Saturday, Carter-Peterson would be the first black woman ever elected to Congress from the Pelican State.

The majority black 2nd District includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between the two cities.

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Republican Julia Letlow wins race for Louisiana U.S. House District 5; District 2 race heads to runoff

2 New Orleans Democratic state senators, Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson, will meet in runoff

♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com

NEW ORLEANS (CFP) — Republican Julia Letlow has won a special election for Louisiana’s 5th District U.S. House seat less than three months after her husband, Luke, died of COVID-19 complications before he could be sworn into the post.

In another special election Saturday in the 2nd District, Democratic state senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter-Peterson advanced to an April 24 runoff in a contest to replace Cedric Richmond, who resigned to take a job as the White House public engagement director in the Biden administration.

U.S. Rep.-Elect Julia Letlow, R-Louisiana

In the 5th District race, Letlow, 40, a former external affairs official at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, took 65% of the vote, besting 11 other candidates in the all-party race.

Coming in second place at 27% was the lone Democrat in the contest, Candy Christophe, a businesswoman and social worker from Alexandria.

Letlow’s husband, Luke, won the seat in November but died December 29 from COVID complications, days before he was scheduled to be sworn into Congress.

She will be just the third woman to represent a Louisiana district in the House, ending a 30-year drought of female representation.

The 5th District includes parts of 24 parishes in the state’s northeast corner and along the Mississippi border.

In the 2nd District — which includes most of New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, along with the River Parishes between — Carter and Carter-Peterson led a field of 15 candidates, with Carter finishing first with 36% and Carter-Peterson with 23%.

However, the third-place finisher,Democrat Gary Chambers, a community activist from Baton Rouge, was just 1,500 votes behind Carter-Peterson.

Carter had support from much of the Democratic establishment and major unions, while Carter-Peterson drew support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and from liberal grassroots group such as Democracy for America and Our Revolution, a group spun out of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign.

But Chambers was competing for those same voters and came in ahead of Carter-Peterson in Orleans Parish, the largest in the district.

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