‘LaPolitics:’ Rove says parties ‘targeting Louisiana’ for redistricting effort

    Republican strategist Karl Rove is expecting a “heckuva battle” over redistricting and the legislative races that will precede the process, according to an op-ed he wrote in The Wall Street Journal Thursday. 

    Rove suggested that “state legislative races in 16 states could determine House control in the 2020s,” and that our backyard could be part of the mix:

    Both parties are targeting Louisiana and Texas. The Bayou State holds legislative elections this fall. Democrats will try to grab six state Senate seats and narrow the GOP’s House majority in hope that pro-trial-lawyer Republican representatives will join in passing a Democratic-friendly redistricting plan.

    For those always looking for meaning between the lines, it may or may not be worth mentioning that Rove was in Louisiana recently helping Congressman Ralph Abraham, an Alto Republican, raise money for his gubernatorial bid.

    In an unrelated piece published by Time, journalist Philip Elliott framed the coming process this way: “Every 10 years, politics rewrites itself, starting with the decennial Census. Legislatures in 31 states use the findings to draw the borders of federal congressional districts. In some, nonpartisan commissions draw the lines clinically.” 

    Then he added, in a quote to remember, “In others, it comes down to who has the Sharpie and the least amount of shame.”

    —The federal government is directing $4.3 million toward the Gulf Coast to restore an active passenger rail service that once transported Louisiana to and from neighboring states. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration awarded the money to the Southern Rail Commission, on which Louisiana has a seat, to get the intercity project up and running. “This funding will help Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama resume passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile to enhance regional economic growth and rural mobility,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a press release. Amtrak suspended its tri-weekly service between New Orleans and Orlando, Florida, in 2005 in the wake of extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Stations and rail lines were destroyed or left vacant, and the long-distance Sunset Limited trains were paused. The federal money was awarded under the FRA’s Restoration and Enhancement Grants Program, authorized by the FAST Act. The program provides “operating assistance grants for initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity rail passenger transportation.” Officials contend the funding will “fill a critical geographic gap in Amtrak’s National Network and provide twice-daily roundtrip service with stops in New Orleans, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula and Mobile. The renewed line is projected to carry 38,400 passengers annually.

    —The Council for A Better Louisiana, a nonpartisan good government group, has released the responses of gubernatorial candidates to a comprehensive survey on major issues in the 2019 governor’s race. Among the major candidates, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Congressman Ralph Abraham filled out the questionnaires. They can be found here on the CABL website. “We have been surveying candidates on important issues for 25 years, and we think it’s important that voters have a chance to see what those seeking our state’s highest office plan to do if elected,” said Barry Erwin, CABL president. The survey contained 17 questions on subjects including the candidates’ leadership style, the top outcomes they hope to achieve if elected, transportation infrastructure, education, workforce development, job growth, state fiscal policies, and criminal justice reform. CABL is also partnering with Louisiana Public Broadcasting on a statewide televised debate in the governor’s race. It will be held Sept. 26 on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. It will air live statewide on LPB stations at 7 pm.

    They said it: “Good to see my friends… especially my friends the nuns.”—state Sen. Dan Claitor, at a ribbon-cutting for Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, via Twitter. 

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