Struggling La. Dems kick off statewide tour

by Heather Miller

Louisiana Democratic Party officials will be in Lafayette Wednesday as part of the state party's Getting Back to Basics Tour.

The Louisiana Democratic Party is launching a 35-city statewide tour in hopes of rebuilding a base that's been largely waning in size and influence over the past several years.

The Getting Back to Basics Tour, which began Jan. 26 in Monroe and will end in Slaughter on Feb. 4, aims to do just what its name implies, says Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Buddy Leach - "rebuild our party ... and get back to basics."

"The purpose of this tour is to rebuild our statewide base and grassroots network, to bring state party resources out of Baton Rouge and to the people, and to discuss our commitment for rebuilding a sustainable and successful state party," Leach says in a press release announcing the tour. "I encourage Democrats to join us at our meetings in their communities and to be a part of the rebuilding process of their Louisiana Democratic Party."

The Associated Press reported in August that Democrats, for the first time since 1957, are now a minority in the state's voter registration, declining from 90 percent of the total voter registration in 1978 to 49.8 percent in 2011. The change is attributed to a rise in Republican and "no party" voter registrations.

The tour is scheduled to stop off in Lafayette at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn on Evangeline Thruway. Democrats interested in attending or learning more about the event can email [email protected] for more info.

For more on the dimming of Louisiana Democrats, check out The Independent's May 2011 cover story, "Dems in Distress."