On one side of the ballot, prognosticators and at least one poll are predicting that young voters will cast a long shadow over next year’s top tier federal elections when President Donald Trump will stand for re-election. Closer to home, writes Jeremy Alford, reporters and consultants have identified an unmistakable bump in women candidates running for the Louisiana Legislature this fall, when Gov. John Bel Edwards will seek a second term.
There have been enough headlines regarding these topics to label them as election trends to watch. But there may be two other questions worth kicking around between now these notable days of decision:
1. Will the increase in younger voters next year and women candidates this year influence the outcomes of elections further down the ballot?
2. Why are we seeing or expecting greater engagement from voters of a certain age and contenders of a particular gender?
Guy Cormier, the executive director of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana, said there’s also a trend of more women running for parish-level offices as. Put another way, the bump in candidacies will go well beyond legislative ballots.
“You can see it at our new member orientations every four years,” he said. “There are more women running for parish office. In St. Charles Parish, for example, a majority of the council is women. On our level, this was a trend that really started about 10 years ago, but it’s continuing to climb.”
As for the influence of young voters, Louisiana Municipal Association Executive Director John Gallagher said in a recent interview that local-level races have already felt that influx over the last few cycles—primarily due to youthful candidates turning our younger segments of the electorate.