Louisiana Group Looks For Change

Louisiana Democrats are facing a crucial vote to potentially remove their party chair, Katie Bernhardt, from office this weekend. Bernhardt has come under fire from within her own party following the devastating election losses in the state last year and her controversial actions. Members of the party, particularly those in the progressive wing, are calling for her removal in the hopes of reviving the party's fortunes.

The move against Bernhardt has been spearheaded by Blue Reboot, a state politics group that is pushing for progressive candidates to run in the State Central Committee elections. The committee currently has an impressive 105 candidates vying for seats, and this goes to show the widespread dissatisfaction with Bernhardt's leadership. Lynda Woolard, co-founder of Blue Reboot, expressed the need for change, saying, "We are in a deep hole that we've got to have a big coalition working to get out of."

Woolard and others in the progressive wing are frustrated with the current approach of the Louisiana Democratic Party, which has been unsuccessful in the traditionally Republican state. One of the major grievances is the lack of funding, which has severely limited the party's ability to compete in elections.

Many voters have also voiced their frustration with the party's lack of communication, with some saying they only hear from the party during election time. This has made it challenging to motivate voters, even when a strong candidate is running.

The call for Bernhardt's removal comes after the 2023 statewide elections, where the Louisiana Democrats suffered a crushing defeat. Republican candidate Jeff Landry easily defeated Democratic candidate Shawn Wilson in the race for governor, while the Democrats lost every other statewide election as well. Additionally, the Republican Party now holds a supermajority in the state legislature, making it even more crucial for Democrats to reevaluate their strategy.

Criticism against Bernhardt intensified when she released a campaign video last year that appeared to position herself for a run for governor. Many in her party felt that her role as the state's DNC Chair was to promote other Democrats, not herself.

She faced backlash for her actions, with some in the party accusing her of "self-promotion." Bernhardt later released a statement, squashing speculations about her potential gubernatorial run and vowing to focus on rebuilding the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Among Bernhardt's challengers is former state Rep. Randal Gaines, who currently serves on the Democratic National Committee. Gaines believes that the party needs new leadership and fresh perspectives to turn things around. Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis is also considering a run and highlights the need for expansion and diversification in the Democratic Party in Louisiana. He notes that the largest share of non-voters, particularly those from marginalized communities, presents a significant opportunity for the party to grow and regain their political relevance.

Ultimately, the fate of Bernhardt's leadership will be determined by this weekend's vote, but she is already facing significant challenges. Her potential ousting reflects the widespread discontent within the party and the need for change. Whoever is selected as the new party chair will have a massive task ahead of them to rebuild the Louisiana Democratic Party and regain the trust of voters.

As Louisiana continues to be a key battleground state in national elections, the decisions made by the party will have far-reaching implications. The coming days and weeks will be critical for the party as they work to rebuild and rebrand themselves in preparation for future elections.

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