Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The old Murder in the Bayou bump

Boustany is making a move all of a sudden.
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany has closed the gap on state Treasurer John Kennedy in Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, according to a telephone survey released Wednesday (Sept. 21) by longtime pollster Bernie Pinsonat.

The results show the Republican congressman from Lafayette riding popularity in his home district to a statistical tie with Kennedy, a fellow Republican who had maintained a double-digit lead in early polls conducted by candidates and some partisan groups.

Kennedy still leads the pack at 17 percent, followed by Boustany at 15 percent, within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of error.
The polls were always going to tighten, probably in this precise way.  Still, it's interesting that this comes right on the heels of Boustany making what most would consider some decidedly negative headlines
When you’re still trying to make a first impression on voters outside your congressional district, let’s just say that it’s not good thing when your name comes up in a new book about the suspicious deaths of eight prostitutes, released by a major publisher less than two months before Election Day.

It’s particularly not a good thing when that book is sensationally titled “Murder in the Bayou,” and it contains a chapter describing how a now-former aide ran the quaintly named hotel, the Boudreaux Inn in Jefferson Davis Parish, where the prostitution ring was centered. And when, by the way, author Ethan Brown quotes unnamed sources alleging that you were a “well-regarded client” of several prostitutes who were later killed, even as he acknowledges that there’s no reason to connect you to any of their deaths.
On the other hand, maybe just being in the news is good enough for Boustany.  Especially if it puts him in direct contrast with Kennedy who.. to put it mildly.. comes off a bit smarmy.  For example, here is Grace's accounting of the way Kennedy handled the news about Brown's book. 
Indeed, Kennedy’s campaign manager admitted to sending around a news report about the book’s contents, and Kennedy himself issued an artfully — and widely quoted — statement that denied spreading details even as it managed to do just that.

“I want to be very clear that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story alleging Congressman Boustany’s sexual relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered, his staff’s alleged involvement in running the bar and hotel where this illicit behavior took place, or publishing the book 'Murder in the Bayou' written by Ethan Brown and published by Simon and Schuster,” the statement said.
I guess that's good for a snicker. But it's probably not going to endear anyone to Kennedy. Which is a problem since he's not especially well liked as it is.  In fact, if I had to guess at what's happening with this race right now, it's that people are looking for reasons to vote against Kennedy if they can.* They certainly have no shortage of alternative candidates in that case.  Anyway, it would explain why a scandalous accusation against Boustany might actually damage Kennedy instead.

By the way, Ethan Brown will be at Octavia Books tonight talking about Murder In The Bayou if anyone wants to check that out.  The event starts around 6. 

*Note: According to the poll, Kennedy actually has a 62 percent approval rating. Which is pretty darn high. But how solid is it, really?  In recent years he's set himself up as The One Guy Who Hates Whoever Is Governor Right Now.  That works well at times but I think.. and this is just a gut feeling.. that people find him hard to like. 

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