Bowles failed to make peace with prominent black Democratic leader Dan Blue after beating him in the primary, and paid for it by getting a lukewarm endorsement and poor black turnout. Now, Landrieu is looking at the same kind of mess down on the bayou. Democratic state senators Don Cravins, Cleo Fields and Greg Tarver announced that they will not work on behalf of Landrieu because she has not been supportive of black issues.
Tarver told local reporters in Shreveport that “I’m not going to campaign against her. I’m going to serve her like she has served my people.”
Fields has a political grudge against Landrieu, who chose not to support his bid for governor last time around.
Landrieu garned 46 percent of the vote on November 5 general and faces the top Republican vote getter, Suzanne Terrell. That wide margin between Landrieu and Terrell actually isn’t that wide. Combined, Republicans in the five way open race totaled 51 percent of the vote. And in 1996, when Landrieu almost lost to Republicans Woody Jenkins, more than 50 percent of her support came from black voters.
“We don’t buy for a minute that when push comes to shove the African-American community won’t come out and vote for Landrieu,” says an RNC staffer already operating in Louisiana. “But we’re certainly going to give them every opportunity to look at their other option.”
Landrieu isn’t without black support. Just as Cravins, Fields and Tarver were making their announcement, another state senator, Kip Holden, was announcing he would fully support Landrieu and work for her to get out the black vote. While Holden’s support is appreciated, Fields, Tarver and Cravins are among the most influential black politicians in the state. If Landrieu is to have a real shot at winning, she needs their support as well.p>
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