Reflections on Election 2019

The Manship School's Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, in partnership with Louisiana Public Broadcasting, hosted a post-election event recapping the 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial and legislative elections. The event, consisting of two panel discussions, was held on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.


The first panel, "Behind the Scenes: The 2019 Gubernatorial Campaign," gathered political strategists from each campaign to discuss the planning and decisions meant to put their candidate on top, and what the outcome might mean moving forward into the 2020 presidential election. 

Natasha Williams

Natasha Williams, Moderator
LPB News Anchor and Reporter

Williams is a co-anchor and reporter on LPB's weekly program Louisiana: The State We're in, the state's longest-running statewide news magazine program. Williams is a veteran news anchor, having spent nearly 20 years as anchor and investigative reporter at the #1 CBS affiliate in the country, WHIO-TV.

Williams received her undergraduate degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina and a master's degree from Ohio State University. Williams received an honorary Ph.D. from Wilberforce University in May of 2008, for her commitment to area youth and charitable causes in Southwest Ohio. 


Richard Carbo

Richard Carbo
Campaign Manager, John Bel for Louisiana

In 2015, Carbo worked on then-State Representative John Bel Edwards campaign during the runoff race for governor. Edwards won the election by a 12-point margin. Following the campaign, Carbo served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Edwards until he assumed the role of campaign manager for the Governor's re-election campaign in January of 2019.

Over the course of the campaign, Carbo oversaw an operation that set fundraising records, raising more than $22 million for the Governor's campaign. Despite having more than $50 million spent against him, Edwards went on to win a second term as Governor. Gov. Edwards became the only Democratic Governor in Louisiana to win reelection in more than 40 years.

Following the campaign, Carbo founded Carbo Consulting, a political and strategic communications consulting firm. 

Carbo graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in mass communication from the Manship School. 


Jared Arsement

Jared Arsement
Media Consultant, John Bel for Louisiana

Prior to working with Edwards, Arsement worked on successful campaigns for Republicans Joel Robideaux, Mark Garber and Jean-Paul Coussan and Democrat Gerald Boudreaux. In Edwards first bid for governor, Arsement was the architect behind a successful negative ad campaign "prostitutes over patriots" against opponent Sen. David Vitter. 

Currently, Arsement runs the Arsement Media Group, a leading political media consulting firm in Lafayette. His company has helped elect state representatives, state senators, judges, sheriffs, district attorneys, mayors, public service commissioners, council members and the first democratic governor in the deep south in nearly a decade. 

Arsement graduated from the University of New Orleans film school.


Bryan Reed

Bryan Reed
Campaign Manager, Eddie Rispone for Governor

As campaign manager for Rispone, Reed helped the candidate go from unknown businessman to a close runoff election away of becoming governor of Louisiana. Ultimately, Rispone fell 40,000 votes short out of 1.5 million cast. 

Prior to spearheading the Eddie Rispone for Governor campaign, Reed served as campaign manager for two other state campaigns in Indiana and Oregon. In 2015, he served as Deputy National Political Director for the Rand Paul for President campaign. In 2016, he served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Eric Greitens for Governor campaign in Missouri.

Currently, he is the Client Services Director for FlexPoint Media in Alexandria, Virginia. Reed graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in political science and government. 


Luke Letlow

Luke Letlow
Chief of Staff, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham

Letlow worked for Bobby Jindal during Jindal's tenure in the United States House of Representatives as his congressional district director. During Jindal's first term as Louisiana governor as director of intergovernmental affairs from 2008 to 2010. After working with Jindal, Letlow worked as director of government and community affairs for QEP Resources, an energy company in Denver. In 2014, he served as campaign manager for Ralph Abraham during his election for Louisiana's 5th congressional district. Letlow served as Abraham's chief of staff during his three-term tenure. 

Letlow graduated from Louisiana Tech with a degree in computer information systems.

In 2020, Letlow was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Louisiana's 5th congressional district. He passed away due to complications caused by COVID-19. In March 2021 his wife, Julie Letlow, won the special election to fill his seat in Congress. 


Lionel Rainey

Lionel Rainey
General Consultant, Ralph Abraham for Governor

Rainey, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, started LR3 Consulting, a full service political consulting and public relations firm, in 2013. He has guided over 25 winning campaigns, including seven statewide wins and the creation of the largest municipal incorporation since reconstruction.

In 2016, Rainey served as campaign strategist for the Ted Cruz for President campaign. He also serves as the state political director for John Kennedy, a Louisiana senator in the U.S. Senate. 

Rainey graduated from Troy University with a degree in public relations. 


The second panel, "The Future of the Louisiana Legislature," included former legislators and state politicos to examine the implications of the substantial turnover in the Louisiana State Legislature, and what it will mean for the future of the state.

Melinda Deslatte

Melinda Deslatte, Moderator
Correspondent, The Associated Press

Deslatte in a correspondent for The Associated Press covering Louisiana politics.

Deslatte graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in mass communication. She also graduated from the University of Maryland with a master's degree in journalism.


John Alario

Sen. John Alario, Jr. 
Louisiana State Senate

From 2008-2020, Sen. Alario represented the 8th district in the Louisiana State Senate. Previously, represented District 83 in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1971 to 2007.

Alario was the President of the Louisiana State Senate from 2012-2020 and was the former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was the first politician in Louisiana history to hold both roles for two terms each. Alario was the longest serving legislator in state history. Alario was term-limited from the Senate in 2019, and chose not to seek another office.

Alario is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University. 


Jeremy Alford

Jeremy Alford
Publisher and Editor, LaPolitics Weekly

Alford is an independent journalist and the co-author of LONG SHOT, recounting Louisiana's 2015 race for governor. His bylines appear regularly in The New York Times and has served an an analyst for CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and C-SPAN. 

He is the publisher and editor of LaPolitics Weekly, the state's leading trade publication for elected officials, lobbyists, campaign professionals and journalists. Alford also produces Tuesday Tracker, a weekly political tip sheet, as well as the LaPolitics Report podcast and, which serves as the hub for all of his work. 


Barry Ivey

Rep. Barry Ivey
Louisiana House of Representatives

Elected in 2013, Ivey represents district 65 in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He serves on the House and Governmental Affairs, Retirement, Ways and Means, House Executive, Joint Legislative Committee on Capital Outlay, Legislative Audit Advisory Council, House Select Leadership committees. 

Ivey graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in finance. He currently serves as the president of Pinnacle Precision Services, which supplies piping/mechanical services mostly to the nuclear power industry.


Liz Mangham

Liz Mangham
Managing Partner, Southern Strategy Group

A founding member of Southern Strategy Group, Mangham serves as the firm's managing partner. She primarily represents clients before the legislative, executive and regulatory branches of state government, focusing on issues related to criminal justice reform, K-12 education reform, the oil & gas and petrochemical industries, substance abuse and prevention, economic development and agricultural commodities. 

Her educational background spans from Louisiana State University, Brenau Women's College and The Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. Mangham has been recognized as one of the top 100 "Louisiana Influencers" and a "National Rising Starz' by Campaign & Elections' politics magazine. Her consulting work has earned award-winning recognition for various political and public policy firms. 

Mangham serves on the Boards of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, WRKF- National Public Radio, the Louisiana Parole Project and the Tiger Athletic Foundation.


Pat Smith

Rep. Pat Smith
Louisiana House of Representatives

Smith served in the Louisiana House of Representatives for district 67 from 2008 - 2020. She used her platform to promote access to healthcare and other resources to underprivileged communities and improving education in public schools. While in the Louisiana House of Representatives, Smith served on the Appropriations, Education, House Executive and Joint Legislative committees.

Smith graduated from Kent State University with a degree in education.