Can I make a real difference by running for office, or would I just be getting in the way? That should be the first question anyone considering public office should be asking themselves. Instead, there are a few races we’ve been watching that suggests the question was not asked. One of these races is unfolding now, in House District 9 in Bossier Parish.
Candidates in that race are Dodie Horton (R 9/10) and Chris D Turner (R 4/10) (not to be confused with old Turncoat Turner (R 4/10) in House District 12.) The standard talking point most insurgent candidates have picked up has come straight from our governor’s poll. That’s where nearly seventy percent (70%) of respondents said the legislature was irresponsible in the preparation of the budget. Similarly, fifty-five percent (55%) said our state is headed in the wrong direction, compared with only 24% who believe we’re moving in the right direction. Smart politicians study polls and craft their talking points accordingly. As such, one of the biggest talking points we’ve seen emerge is the need to replace every single legislator… but even the good ones? That doesn’t make sense.
Our scoring system
Before you go check out the House District 9 candidate scorecards, let’s review how we arrive at the overall score. It’s a star rating with a total of ten stars possible. Currently the only incumbent / candidate in the entire legislature with a perfect score is Danny McCormick (R 10/10). The top question we get on that point (usually from 9/10 scoring lawmakers) is why someone didn’t achieve a 10. The truth is, most of the 9/10 folks have everything Danny has. The main differentiator for him, though, is his active leadership across the entire state to pull Louisiana’s various lawmaking bodies back toward reason. He does this by seeking out and encouraging like-minded, conservative candidates to qualify and run for public office.
The default value of any candidate is a five (5). This is where newcomers generally start, unless they have a record of service in local government or just a history of being a crazy woke activist. If they’re a wall flower, never stand up for anything, and are otherwise milquetoast, they stay at a five (5) or six (6). If your legislator is still at such a rank after four years (or more) in the legislature, they’re doing something wrong. From this baseline, we identify on which issues the candidate or lawmaker is most closely aligned with standard, conservative positions. We do this a few ways. First, you should know that voting records themselves are not reliable. We use those only in extraordinary circumstances or when it presents an obvious divide between who stands on principal and who doesn’t (i.e. the vote to bust the spending cap).
Instead, we look at who they hang around or vote with. That’s the “close associates” section of the scorecard. We look at who their donors are. We also look to see if they’ve made any public statements or actually authored or carried an important bill. Rather than these items getting lost in the sometimes verbose “notable efforts” section, a few of the stand-out issues have “badges” as a visual identifier. Most of these badges are clickable, which will reveal others who have earned the same one. At the end of the day, our scorecard is intended to give you a fully sourced glimpse into the soul of a lawmaker or candidate.
If you’ve been watching our work from Bossier Parish for the last few years, you’ll know that Dodie Horton (R 9/10) is a top ranked legislator for 2023. She stood her ground on that very important budget issue. It’s a position that seventy-percent (70%) of the state agreed with. She was part of the 36 movement, spearheaded by the Louisiana Freedom Caucus.
Her many policy wonk endorsements include the likes of Louisiana Freedom Caucus PAC, Americans for Prosperity, Louisiana’s Republican Party, Louisiana Family Forum, Louisiana Committee for a Conservative Majority, and Louisiana Right to Life, to name a few.
Policy areas where she’s earned “badges” on our scorecard include: liberty loving, solid conservative, supports lower taxes and responsible spending. She’s also pro-family and pro-life. Recent legislation includes House Bill 8 which was signed by the governor to include our national motto, “In God We Trust,” in school classrooms. She also introduced popular House Bill 466 (that Edwards vetoed) which would have outlawed teachers from having awkward sex talks with school kids.
Dodie Horton’s (R 9/10) policy ranking on our scorecard comes from her outwardly and openly conservative principals. To us, that means her core beliefs align with concepts of smaller government, lower taxes, and individual liberty. So what contrast can an opponent provide that’s more reflective of House District 9?
Chris D Turner
The other candidate in this race, Chris D Turner (R 4/10), has been running what appears to be a law enforcement campaign. That assessment comes from campaign colors and imagery one might expect in a Sheriff or Chief of Police race. As we mentioned previously, he is attempting to tap into that recurring rhetorical theme of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You know, “out with the old and in with the new.” The concept lumps all incumbents into one category, regardless of how they’ve voted or for what they have stood.
It’s one of those lowest common denominators that often resonates with busy voters. “The state is on the wrong track, let’s try something new.” However, a closer look suggests that Chris D Turner’s (R 4/10) “let’s change Louisiana” talking point doesn’t align with his most prominent position, a written statement unequivocally supported exceeding the state’s statutory spending limit on non-essential projects.
Turner’s unpopular position on the budget has him aligned with a textbook definition of crony politicians. That includes the likes of Senate President Page Cortez (R 1/10), House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R 1/10), Paula Davis (R 3/10), Stuart Bishop (R 5/10), and Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee (R 2/10). Does that sound like change to you? This one issue is the major difference between him and incumbent Dodie Horton (R 9/10), who voted to maintain the state’s spending cap.
We have a fundamental problem in Louisiana. Danny McCormick said it best, “Why do we want to send our money to Baton Rouge and then try to elect a bunch of prostitutes who will sell their souls to get that money back!?” Seventy-percent of Louisiana residents disagree with this form of governance. However, if you want someone who will do whatever is necessary to bring home more pork projects, Chris D Turner (R 4/10) might be your guy.