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|Post election wrap-up and more|
Gov. Bobby Jindal's detractors are poking holes in his showing at the polls Saturday.
It is true voter turnout was embarrassingly low in the Oct. 22 primary election, registering a whopping 36 percent statewide. It's also true Jindal faced a field of poorly funded minor opponents.
The fact remains, though, that Jindal pulled a record-setting 66 percent of the vote and carried every parish in Louisiana, including Orleans, en route to securing a second term in office. The 66 percent mark was the highest percentage of the vote any candidate for governor has garnered since the state moved to the open primary system in 1975.
End of discussion.
The big story percolating on the political scene the week after the election isn't what Jindal plans to do in his second term, but how quickly he moved to squelch talk about his choice to lead the state Senate for the next four years. A staff shake-up in the governor's office has created a buzz as well.
At a news conference Tuesday morning at the governor's mansion, Jindal declared he supports Sen. John Alario in his bid to be named Senate president. Senators will pick their leader in January when lawmakers who were elected in the fall 2011 election cycle gather to take their oaths of office. Members of the House of Representatives will name the Speaker of the House at that time, too.
With Jindal's backing, Alario is a shoe-in for the Senate presidency, but if the truth be known Alario didn't need any help in drumming up support for his drive to do what no other lawmaker has done in modern history in Louisiana – serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives and eventually, President of the Senate.
Remember, Alario served as Speaker in the 1980s and again in the 1990s during Gov. Edwin Edwards' third and fourth terms in office. With his election a foregone conclusion to serve as Senate president, Alario will secure his place in the history books on Louisiana politics. He will have done it, too, as a Democrat in the House and as a Republican in the Senate.
Not a bad way to cap off a long, productive and at times, controversial career in the Legislature. That's Alario, though. He's always been one step ahead of the mood of the electorate, and he makes friends easily.
That would help explain why Jindal turned to Alario to lead the Senate during his final term as governor. Jindal needs an ally in the Senate who has a track record of corralling lawmakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Alario has been there and done that, and he's evolved into a steady hand in support of just about everything Jindal has attempted accomplish in his first four years in office.
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