Rain didn't stop annual Labor Day tradition for state, local politicians

Labor Day politics

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The rain did not stop a Labor Day tradition at City Park.

"Labor Day, happy Labor Day," said Mike Fahrenholt playfully as he sat at a picnic table under a tent.

Hundreds showed up counting on food and something else the annual Labor Day event serves up.

"Well, usually it's a lot of politicians," said Donna Fahrenholt.

Labor Day is a time when many politicians around the country make a point of being seen by voters. Some who showed up for the AFL-CIO picnic have no campaign to run this fall, others are in full voter outreach as the fall election date approaches.

"It was great, I had no opposition and I'm already serving you, State Rep. District 80, if I could be of assistance to you," said State Rep. Polly Thomas, a Republican from Metairie.

Politicians representing both parties had a presence at the big labor event.

"I look forward to the campaign," said Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana.

Though Labor Day is a holiday to honor American workers, traditionally it is seen as the official kickoff to the fall campaign season, a time when pundits believe more voters begin paying more attention to the political races.

In reality, for many candidates it is a signal to intensify their already underway campaigns.

Candidates for judge, school board, Congress, and the U.S. Senate race among others made their way to the park to speak to workers and their families in attendance.

In the Senate race, 24 people qualified to run for the seat Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, chose not to seek re-election for after losing his bid for governor late last year.

"I think Labor Day is going to be the beginning of a very sleepy Senate race with two dozen candidates to choose from. Voters have not started focusing on this one yet and candidates haven't really started spending much money, yet. This race definitely benefits those with statewide name recognition," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

Sherman noted that Senate race is playing out amid a feisty presidential campaign.

"So I think this is going to be all about Washington, the only twist here is going to be with these devastating floods in the greater Baton Rouge area, what will the candidates' positions be on disaster recovery," he said of issues the senatorial candidates may focus on.

However, Sherman doubts we will see a repeat of last year's governor's race between Vitter and democrat John Bel Edwards when their respective national political parties played a role in the runoff campaigns.

"We probably don't expect to see the national parties very involved, particularly at this stage. One thing we're hearing from almost every campaign, very difficult to raise money this election cycle, a lot of voter fatigue," said Sherman.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is expected to best democrat Hillary Clinton when it comes to carrying Louisiana on election day.
"Louisiana is a solidly red state, 40 or 50 states in America don't really change between blue and red each election cycle, so Hillary Clinton probably wants to come down here to raise a little money but not really get many votes," added Sherman.

He said because both presidential candidates have high "un-favorability" numbers it is hard to tell what impact the presidential race will have on voter turnout on election day in Louisiana.

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