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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Louisiana prepares for presidential primary in heated race

Louisiana prepares for presidential primary in heated race

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Voters will go to the polls on Saturday as the country's heated presidential race comes to Louisiana. The presidential primary comes after Super Tuesday voting during which Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton both solidified their positions. Here's a look at what to expect in the Louisiana primary:

The polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Unlike other statewide races, the presidential primaries are closed races, meaning that only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their respective party's races. There are 1.3 million registered Democrats and a little more than 800,000 registered Republicans. There are also local elections in certain parishes but Congressional primaries won't be held until November.

On the Republican side, 46 delegates are up for grabs while Democrats have 51 delegates. The delegates in both parties will be awarded proportionally to candidates who meet a certain threshold.

Many of the major candidates have visited or plan to visit Louisiana before the primary. Donald Trump on Friday night plans to make his second appearance in the state with a rally in New Orleans. He spoke to voters in February during a rally in Baton Rouge.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz plans a campaign event in Mandeville on Friday night. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has come to the state on fundraising trips and had planned a rally in Baton Rouge on Friday, but that event was cancelled.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was in Metairie on Feb 24. On the Democratic side, both Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have made campaign swings through the state last year. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife in Baton Rouge on Thursday and has a stop in New Orleans on Friday.
The former president called his wife the most experienced candidate and the only one who could make changes in Washington. He highlighted her plans to modernize ailing infrastructure — pointing the contaminated water in Flint, Mich. — tackle the heroin epidemic and reduce student debt. Alluding to Republican Donald Trump's plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, Clinton said it was time to embrace the country's diversity.

On the Democratic side, analysts expect Clinton to do well as she's done in other southern states. She's drawn on support among African-American voters who also make up a sizeable part of the Louisiana Democratic primary electorate.

"Louisiana is identical to the states she has been performing well in and likewise Bernie Sanders has done poorly in," said Joshua Stockley, associate professor of political science at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. On the Republican side, Louisiana has tended to vote for conservative, evangelical candidates, such as Rick Santorum in 2012 and Mike Huckabee in 2008. That history might favor Cruz but Ed Chervenak, who heads the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center, said momentum is on Trump's side and on Super Tuesday he proved he can win in southern states with evangelical voters: "He's tapped into a level of frustration that transcends religiosity," Chervenak said.

Kansas will hold presidential caucuses for both parties while Kentucky and Maine will hold Republican caucuses and Nebraska will hold a Democratic caucus.
Follow Santana on Twitter @ruskygal.

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