Scalise, Duplessis clinch midterm victories in Tulane’s district

Ellie Cowen, Contributing Writer

Congressman Steve Scalise was elected Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. (“Steve Scalise” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.)

Student voters hit the polls last week in a midterm election showdown wrought with issues like reproductive rights, inflation and partisan anxieties. 

The result: Republicans maintained big majorities in Louisiana state races and Democrats dominated New Orleans. 

Incumbent Republican John Kennedy kept his seat in the U.S. Senate representing Louisiana, beating challengers Democrat Gary Chambers Jr. and Democrat Luke Mixon. Orleans Parish, the state’s only majority African-American district, was the only district to swing blue for Chambers.

Republicans have leveled criticism at the president to bring conservative voters to the polls this midterm season, citing inflation and violent crime rates as faults of the Democratic administration. 

“No matter what issue you look at—inflation, energy bills, COVID, crime, the border, Afghanistan, or even baby formula—American life under the Biden admin has been 21 months of misery and vexation,” Senator John Kennedy tweeted on Nov. 8. 

Republican Steve Scalise will also hold his seat in the House of Representatives for Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District, which includes all of Tulane University’s campus. Scalise secured almost three quarters of the votes, while Democrat Kate Darling cinched only 25%. Scalise was elected House Majority leader this week and that decision was finalized Wednesday night when Republicans won the House. 

This will be Scalise’s seventh term in the House. His district includes conservative leaning Jefferson Parish and some of New Orleans, including parts of Broadway Street. 

“Jefferson Parish is near steps from the boundaries of New Orleans as far as the parish line but completely different as far as politics,” Professor of Political Science Rosalind Cook said. “[Jefferson Parish is] very conservative, very pronounced as far as the policies surrounding the pandemic.”

Incumbent Democrat Troy Carter won his race against Republican Dan Lux in the 2nd Congressional District, which includes the other parts of Broadway Street and will remain the only Democratic representative for Louisiana in the House of Representatives. 

“As I continue to fight for a better tomorrow, I will always be guided by the opinions, perspectives, and stories of my constituents. I promise that every day that I’m blessed to serve you, I will be #TheVoiceOfThePeople,” tweeted Carter after his reelection. 

In a State Senate race important for Tulane students, Democrat Royce Duplessis beat Mandie Landry for the open seat in the 5th Senatorial District.  

“[This State Senate race is] really important because now we have no pro-choice women in the State Senate,” Darcy Schleifstein, president of the Tulane College Democrats, said. “It’s as local of a race as we get and it’s also going to be very important going into the governor’s race next year of who represents Tulane students.” 

In the most progressive State Senate district in Louisiana, candidates Dulpessis and Landry campaigned on many similar issues, including protecting reproductive rights. Duplesiss released campaign ads in his support for women’s right to choose. 

“I’ve heard quite a number of students are very concerned about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and certainly with such conservative senators, it does affect everyone within the state and certainly affects Tulane students,” Cook said. 

Democrat Karen Herman beat Republican “Joseph” Cao and Democrat Marie Williams in the race for Judge for the Court of Appeal 4th Circuit at Large. In the race for Clerk 1st City Court, Donna Glapion beat Austin Badon. Both candidates were Democrats. 

Many younger students were eligible to vote for the first time in Louisiana this year, but many state voting laws require students from out of state to mail in their voter registration weeks before the election. 

“Quite a number [of students] do not register to vote in Louisiana,” Cook said. “Louisiana is basically a Republican state except for those few strongholds of Democrats. Students that are knowledgeable will realize that they don’t want to vote in Louisiana, because their vote doesn’t affect perhaps as much as if they stay registered in the state they’re from.” 

Given that more than 80% of students hail from outside Louisiana, with big portions from New York and California, this is many students’ first experience living in a state with conservative representatives. Freshman Yilan Tang is a registered voter in Connecticut, a consistently blue state. 

“Living in Louisiana, [but] being from somewhere that is pretty reliably Democratic is really interesting to see how people act when their votes can actually change the political atmosphere,” Tang said. 

Tulane College Democrats hosted a watch party for the midterm elections on Nov. 8. Students anxiously gathered with snacks to watch CNN as the national midterm election results rolled in. 

“For Democrats, we’re expecting a loss,” Schleifstein said. “Because President Biden is in the White House, usually it is a response to how he’s been doing, so we are expecting some losses in the House and a very tight race in the Senate. But if things stay close, that’s the best outcome.” 

Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate, but Republicans took control of the House Wednesday after reaching the 218 seats needed for majority.

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