Oct 182018

Congressional candidate MiMi Methvin poses with Bobbie Hill and Micah Fincher at an Uptown fundraiser hosted by Seth and Julie Schwam Harris. (photo by Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Women leaders around the state are excited about congressional contender MiMi Methvin – a Democrat running against incumbent Republican Clay Higgins in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District. They expect Methvin, a former federal magistrate who was educated at Newcomb College, to take full advantage of the #Me Too Movement against sexual harassment. Numerous polls show that white, college-educated women are moving toward more culturally sensitive Democratic candidates and away from those who embrace President Donald Trump and his often divisive rhetoric.

A former law enforcement officer, Higgins has been endorsed by Trump. With the #MeToo backlash brought on by riled-up conservatives who believe newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was maligned during the nomination process, voters who identify strongly as Republicans or Democrats have become more entrenched. Hardcore Democrats want to vote for Democratic candidates and hardcore Republicans for Republican candidates. To win, Methvin and others like her will have to successfully reach more independent-minded voters – fortunately a growing segment of the U.S. population.

Pollster Dr. Ron Faucheux recently presented a new survey taken by The Economist/YouGov on October 7-9 that showed 50% of respondents had a favorable opinion of the # MeToo Movement. Of the favorable respondent, 75% were Democrats and 21% were Republicans. When asked if the movement had gone too far, 39% agreed while another 27% indicated the movement “has been about right.” Only 20% believe the movement has not gone far enough. In a national poll by the Washington Post/ABC taken October 8-11, 81% of Democrats, 79% of Republicans and 70% of Independents said they would vote in the midterm elections. Democrats also consider this election “much more important” than other midterm elections have been, explained Faucheux. “Perhaps this shows the difference between the perception of civic duty (certainty of voting in an election) as opposed to the perception of political efficacy (relative of importance of an election).” Voters also indicated by a solid majority that they would support a candidate who shares their opinion of President Trump.

Methvin is only one of thousands of women who decided to jump into politics after the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Other Louisiana women running for Congress this year include Dr. Tammy Savoie, LeAnn Dugas and Andi Saizan. Four women are also running for Secretary of State with at least one – Renee Fontenot Free – expected to make the runoff. Her competition could well be State Rep. Julie Stokes who has the largest campaign war chest in the race.

On Monday USA Today called this year’s contests “the gender wars.” These midterm battles “could be a dry run for the presidential election in 2020 and fundamentally reshape political parties.” As better-educated white women seem to be moving toward Democratic candidates, lesser-educated white men tend to be headed toward GOP candidates, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. Women candidates now speak on women’s issues to women voters in a new, stronger, unfiltered voice. Though Justice Kavanaugh’s supporters might be out in full force on November 6, they will not drown out the voices of women who are demanding more respect. Early voting begins Tuesday, Oct. 23, and continues until Tuesday, Oct. 30.


In low-interest elections like these, ministers can play a crucial role by motivating their parishioners to go to the polls. That’s why candidates of all ethnicities spend their Sundays (and often Wednesday nights too) in area churches. The candidates and elected officials who work this constituency best are the ones that are active on the church circuit twelve months a year. It also helps – but is not absolutely essential – for the candidate to actually believe what the minister is preaching.

Campaign consultants like Angela Young and Margaret Doyle Johnston who specialize in the church beat and are quick to schedule two, three or even four churches for a candidate to visit during as single Sunday. The recent campaign finance reports show just how often candidates make donations to churches or their ministers to get in a good word from the almighty.

Clerk of Court candidate Jared Brossett has supported City Church of New Orleans. Clerk of First City Court candidate Austin Badon has made contributions to 14 churches including Holy Name of Jesus and First Emmanuel Baptist Church. Judicial candidate Richard Perque has been supportive of 11 churches including powerhouses Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel Church. Judicial candidate Omar Mason purchased tickets to a fundraiser which benefitted the Sisters of the Holy Family.

Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Marie Williams, Kenneth Plaisance and Timothy David Ray didn’t list any donations to churches on their reports. They too are visiting churches but just not leaving contributions. Ray’s family includes several members of the clergy.


Congresswoman-elect Ayana Pressley, who is expected to become the first African-American member of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, will address Citizen SHE United, a new organization advocating for Black women, on Saturday October 20, according to founder Nia Weeks. Pressley will also be feted at a fundraiser reception hosted by Congressman Cedric Richmond Friday, October 19, 6 p.m. at the French Market Restaurant. Pressley was the first African-American elected to Boston’s City Council and defeated incumbent Congressman Michael Capuano, also a Democrat.

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, City Councilwoman-elect Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

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