Cook Report shifts gov race to “Lean Dem”

Veteran Beltway political prognosticator Charlie Cook, in his latest Cook Political Report, has plenty of caveats regarding Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards’ chances of beating Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter in the Nov. 21 governor runoff.

According to Cook, a key hinge in swinging the election for Edwards will be white women, a reliable voting bloc for Republicans in deep red Louisiana for the last several years. If that demographic turns on Vitter in significant numbers due to his prostitution scandal, Edwards wins big, Cook writes. If they stay home it’s a much tighter race.

Nonetheless, Cook moves the runoff from “Toss Up,” where he had it in October, to “Lean Democrat”:

To be honest, I am very surprised that the Louisiana governor’s race has become hotly contested. I didn’t expect that we would move it to the Toss Up as we did on October 26 just after the primary, and even more so now that we are calling Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter the underdog, and moving the rating to Lean Democrat. This rating change says little about the overall politics of Louisiana or where the two political parties find themselves in the state. It does say a great deal about how much Sen. David Vitter’s situation has changed in the last few months.

Read the full report here.