Days before the much-awaited runoff election between Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, a video emerged showing a Democratic mayor encouraging Landrieu supporters to commit voter fraud.
The Black Conservative Fund, a political action committee, released the video shot at a private event where Opelousas, La., Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. tells attendees who voted early to go to the polls again to cast a ballot for Landrieu.
“One more time’s not going to hurt,” Cravins says.
Cravins goes on to reassure supporters that Earl Taylor, district attorney of St. Landry Parish, would be elected to a fourth term Nov. 4 and would not prosecute them. (Taylor did win re-election.)
Cravins’ son, Donald Cravins Jr., is Landrieu’s chief of staff.
Acting as narrator for the video, state Sen. Elbert Guillory, a Republican, says the younger Cravins attended the event where his father made the remarks.
In a statement, the Opelousas mayor said his comments were taken out of context.
“As usual, Senator Guillory has misconstrued my message and humor as something unethical,” he said. “It is very unfortunate that Senator Guillory has time to spend following me and critiquing my campaign itinerary and speeches.”
Landrieu’s campaign did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment. However, Landrieu did address Cravins’ remarks in an interview with Louisiana’s NBC 33 News.
“I looked at the video,” she said. “It was in a barroom, you know, on a stage. People were having a good time. It seemed to me to be a joke.”
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a former member of the Federal Election Commission, said such behavior should not be tolerated.
“Given Louisiana’s infamous history of voter fraud, Mayor Don Cravins’ urging voters to commit fraud by voting twice is appalling, as is his assurance that they would not face criminal prosecution if they re-elected the local Democratic district attorney,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. He added:
The solicitation of felonies by public officials cannot be tolerated. Cravins should resign, as should [District Attorney] Earl Taylor if he does not forcibly and publicly reject Cravins’ behavior. Sen. Mary Landrieu must be asked if Cravins’ son, her chief of staff, shares such reprehensible views.
The Louisiana Democrat faces Cassidy in a runoff election Saturday. Neither won more than 50 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4 primary, where they were joined by six other Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate race.
A representative from Cassidy’s campaign did not reply to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.