“She came home to a sea of change since she last ran,” said Bernie Pinsonat, a pollster in the state. “We don’t have any Democratic statewide officials after her left. The Legislature is now dominated by Republicans; you don’t even need a Democrat to pass a bill. Next year there will be maybe ten, or maybe 8 or 7 white Democrats left in the entire capitol building. There’s been a mass exodus and not something that had gone unnoticed. I don’t know why she ran for reelection.”
It’s part of a regional trend. Though Landrieu was considered to be a strong candidate with a personal brand that might be able to cut through the partisan trends in Louisiana, her performance in 2014 mirrored B-list Democrats running in non-competitive races throughout the South. The un-touted Democratic Senate candidates in South Carolina got the same shares of white voters as Landrieu, per the exit poll, while Mississippi Democrat Travis Childers pulled in 16 percent of whites in his blowout loss. Michelle Nunn in Georgia won Democrats’ highest share of white voters in the South: 23 percent, not nearly enough to claim a victory over incoming GOP Sen. David Perdue.
Meanwhile, after Democratic Rep. John Barrow’s loss in Georgia a month ago and Landrieu’s on Saturday, there will not be a white Democrat from the Deep South (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) in Congress in 2015. Democrats’ representatives from that region are all African-Americans representing majority-minority districts, while the white voters who dominate the other districts have tilted them toward Republicans. In the South as a whole, even though Democrats picked up a congressional seat in the Florida Panhandle, Republicans will hold their highest-ever share of Southern House seats next year, too.