La. Democrats reflect on 2023 elections: ‘We have a lot of work to do’

Republicans had already claimed the governor’s mansion and a few other statewide races during last month’s primaries.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:09 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Republicans had already claimed the governor’s mansion and a few other statewide races during last month’s primaries. Over the weekend, there were several local and statewide runoffs where Republicans continued to rack up victories.

Come January, they will hold every statewide elected office in Louisiana. Now, Democrats need to figure out how to move forward with their party while holding just a tiny minority.

“Going forward we need to focus not only on our Democrat strongholds but also places where we can pick up votes. And hopefully, a second majority-minority congressional district here in Louisiana to get us one step closer to fair representation,” said the party’s chairwoman, Katie Bernhardt.

According to Bernhardt, Democrats have struggled with messaging among other issues. In order to make any progress in future elections, they’ll need to find out how to make their party more appealing to voters. Louisiana still currently has more registered Democrats than Republicans, and while some just are not voting at all anymore, others are now casting ballots for Republicans.

“We have developed a great grassroots network but that’s a work in progress. It’s been a 10-year downturn and we’re working tirelessly to engage voters across the state,” Bernhardt continued.

Catching up with Democrat Senator Cleo Fields on Monday, he said the blame for poor turnout and lost races cannot simply go to one person, but rather to the party as a whole.

“I just think it’s a reflection moment for all of us as Democrats to sit around the table and decide what we have done wrong because we all got us here, including me,” Sen. Fields explained.

Republicans not only hold every statewide position, but they also have supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature, making our state’s government the most conservative it has been in our state’s history.

“There aren’t many Democrats left as far as activists who are speaking out. The results are obvious it was a disastrous cycle,” said WAFB Political Analyst Jim Engster.

Engster said if Democrats want to have any success getting legislation passed, they will need to rely on reaching across the aisle and work with moderate Republicans more so than they have in years past.

“But whether that will be in play in the first year or two with Governor Landry...I seriously doubt it. I think he’s going to get a honeymoon, and he will have an opportunity to be the most powerful governor we’ve had perhaps in history,” added Engster.

Bernhardt said Democrats also need to take a closer look on the economic front to try and keep more young voters in the state who tend to predominantly vote Democrat.

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