This year in Louisiana we are experiencing an election unlike most statewide elections in recent history -- a classic partisan contest. A classic partisan contest is characterized by a two-party system, voting along party lines, a split middle-of-the-road, groups voting according to their partisanship, and partisan issues related to voting choice. A classic partisan contest stands in contrast to an election in which voting is dominated by a personality (Duke or Edwards), racial identification (Fields), or one party. The last election that came close to being such a contest was the 1986 U.S. Senate race between John Breaux and Henson Moore, but at that time the Republican Party was not nearly as strong as it is today, and conventional wisdom was that a Republican candidate could not win against a respectable Democrat. The 1996 U.S. Senate race may be the first classic partisan contest in a competetive two-party Louisiana.
Howell, Susan E., "A Classic Partisan Contest: The 1996 Senate and Presidential Elections in Louisiana" (1996). Survey Research Center Publications. Paper 26.