Roy Fletcher: Good Candidate Makes the Difference

Political consultant Roy Fletcher, who represented Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Angelle in the recent election, told the Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon Tuesday that he expects a much higher turnout Nov. 21 than on Oct. 24.  He thinks turnout will be in the range of 48 to 50 percent, instead of the 39 percent in the primary.

That will work to the Democrats favor, Fletcher said, because the Democratic Party is much better at turning out their voters.

Fletcher said he believes either Angelle or Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, the other Republican candidate, would be able to defeat Democrat John Bel Edwards if either had made it to the runoff.

Fletcher, who represented Gov. David Treen, Gov. Mike Foster, and Sen. John McCain in their campaigns, said the current governor’s race may disprove the idea that Louisiana is the brightest of red states.  “This is, at best, a purple state,” Fletcher said.

The Louisiana electorate is 66 percent white and 31 percent black.  If a Democratic candidate gets all black voters, he has to get less that one of every three white voters in order to win.  Fletcher said that’s why having good candidates is the key to Republicans winning at the state level.  It’s not enough to have a Republican on the ballot, that Republican has to be a good candidate, he said.

The Republican Party is not on the dissent in Louisiana, Fletcher said, but it will be if they don’t field the best candidates.

Republican Senate candidate David Vitter began running an apology ad the day before Fletcher spoke, and the consultant said, “That’s the ad he should have been running a year ago.”

Looking back on the governor’s race leading up to Oct. 24, Fletcher said only two things happened.  First, Vitter and Dardenne entered the race and from then on their numbers went down.  Second, Angelle and Edwards entered the race, and their numbers went up.  “In our first poll, Scott was at one percent, and he ended up with 19 percent,” he said.

Fletcher said one of his problems with the current state of politics is the dishonest use of polls or what masquerade as polls.  “I see a proliferation of ridiculous ‘polls’ that are nothing but robocalls.  What went on in this campaign was wrong.”  He said one bogus poll just before the Oct. 24 primary had Vitter way up and Dardenne at eight percent and Angelle at seven percent.  The purpose was to make donors and voters think that Angelle and Dardenne were “out of it.”  He said the most reliable polling was done by Dr. Verne Kennedy, who called the election almost exactly.  “When everyone was denying Angelle’s surge, Kennedy was confirming it,” he said.

Fletcher distinguished between public polls, which are usually released in order to influence opinion, and private polls, which are done by the candidate for his own use.  “I very much believe in private polls that are done for our candidate.  But the important thing in your private poll is not who’s ahead or behind.  It’s about what’s in the internals, the crosstabs, that show you what’s happening in the race.”

Fletcher said, “The negative advertising kept turnout down in the primary.  It left people cynical.  It was an ugly thing.  We’re seeing the pollution of the political system.

Fletcher said last Tuesday’s elections around the country were a huge victory for conservatives.  He cited the defeat of a gay rights ordinance by voters in Houston and the election of a conservative Republican governor in Kentucky, which was fueled by his support for Clerk of Court Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

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