2015 Louisiana Governor Election
Beginning with the Tea Party wave of 2010, Democrats have suffered sweeping losses in statewide races across the South. Nowhere have these losses been more severe than in Louisiana, where Democrats had failed to win a statewide race since 2008. Enter long-shot Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards, who surprised many by winning the state's "jungle primary" in October but entered the November runoff election as a deep underdog against Republican Senator David Vitter. For Edwards to win the runoff, it was clear that traditional Democratic voters would have to turn out in strong numbers. It was also crucial that Democratic voters expand on their traditional turnout advantage during the Louisiana early voting period.
Terra Strategies was enlisted to provide a voter turnout program targeted at so-called "drop-off" Democratic voters in four important parishes: Orleans, East Baton Rouge, Caddo and Lafayette. In just two weeks, the Terra-led program knocked on 150,000 doors engaging in direct conversations with Democratic voters about the importance of a John Bel Edwards victory. Terra's efforts placed particular focus on the early vote period of November 7th through 14th. Despite the early vote window for the runoff election being one day shorter than the October period, the number of ballots cast in the November early vote set turnout records for a non-Presidential year and showed significant increases over both the October vote and those of similar non-Presidential cycles.
Statewide, the November early vote was nearly 10% higher than the October Primary, the Democratic share of the early vote rose to 52.6%, from 50.6%. In raw numbers, African-American early vote totals increased by 21% over the October Primary; the African-American share of the early vote rose by 2.5% to nearly 30%.
On Saturday November 21st, John Bel Edwards completed his stunning upset with 56% of the vote, proving that Democrats can still win in the South and that direct voter contact works.