Tuesday, 01 March 2011 20:52

Louisiana Election Campaign: Who's Got The Money?

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By Lou Gehrig Burnett
Who’s got the money?
    How much money elected officials have in their campaign finance accounts is always interesting to learn.  The amount can play a big role in whether an incumbent has a challenger.
    We thought it would be interesting to take a look at  the state House and Senate incumbents from northwest Louisiana to see how much money they have on hand as they head toward re-election this fall.

    Granted, it is usually pretty easy for incumbents to raise money and pad their campaign accounts.  But they always have to keep in mind that a challenger could be independently wealthy and willing to spend a lot of his or her own money to win the seat.
    But this information may also be helpful to potential candidates who are looking at running against one of the incumbents.
    Here is a look at incumbent area legislators based on their 2010 annual report, which had to be filed with the Louisiana Ethics Commission by February 15.
   State Sen. Robert Adley (Senate District 36) – Adley, a Republican, will be seeking his third and final term in the state Senate.  He has, by far, the largest campaign fund.  As of December 31, 2010, Adley had $262,870.37 on hand.  So far, no one has officially announced against Adley.
   State Sen. B.L. “Buddy” Shaw (Senate District 37) – Shaw, a Republican, is not running for a second term in the state Senate.  He said after serving eight years in the House and four in the Senate, he believes he is term-limited because the term-limits law says a state legislator can serve a collective 12 years.  
    But there is no provision to keep a term-limited House member from running for the Senate and vice-versa.  Shaw had $8,093.57 on hand as of December 31.
    Republican state Rep. Jane Smith, who is term-limited in the House, has announced she will run for the Senate District 37 seat.
    State Sen. Sherri Smith Cheek (Senate District 38) – Cheek, a Republican, is running for her third and final term in the state Senate.  As of December 31,  2010, Cheek had $112,827.34 in her campaign fund.  Cheek survived a strong challenge in 2007 from Republican Alan Seabaugh, but, to date, no one has announced against her.
    State Sen. Lydia Jackson (Senate District 39) – Jackson, a Democrat, will be seeking her third and final term in the state Senate.  No opposition so far, but former state Sen. Greg Tarver, who held the seat for 20 years, is saying he is giving a challenge to Jackson serious consideration.
    As of December 31, 2010, Jackson had $24,006.49 in her campaign fund.

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In the House
    State Rep. James “Jim” Morris (House District  1) – Morris, a Republican will be seeking a second term.  As of December 31, he had $49,178.24 on hand.  No opposition for Morris has surfaced to date.
   State Rep. Roy Burrell (House District 2) – Burrell, a Democrat, will be seeking a third and final term in the House.  He had $16,930.12 on hand.  
    The rumor is that now-Commissioner and former City Council member Joyce Bowman, a Democrat, will challenge Burrell.
   State Rep. Barbara Norton (House District 3) – Norton, a Democrat, will be seeking a second term.  As of December 31, Norton had $11,702.63 on hand..  Norton will apparently have opposition.
    Lynn Cawthorne (D) told the Fax-Net he is definitely running.  Former state Rep. Ernest Baylor (D) says he is giving the race serious consideration.
   State Rep. Patrick Williams (House District 4) – Williams, a Democrat, will be running for a second term.  As of December 31, Williams had $7,465.15 on hand.   There are no potential challengers at this time.
    State Rep. Alan Seabaugh (House District 5) – Seabaugh, a Republican, won a special election on October 2, 2010 to replace Republican state Rep. Wayne Waddell, who resigned to become director of the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport.
    Seabaugh will be running for a full term this fall.  As of December 31, Seabaugh had $73,064.86 on hand.  No potential candidates have surfaced so far.
    State Rep. Thomas Carmody (House District 6) – Carmody, a Republican, will be seeking a second  term.  As of December 31, he had $63,999.19 on hand.  To date, no challengers have surfaced.
    State Rep. Richard “Ritchie” Burford (House District 7) – Burford, a Republican, will be seeking a second  term.  As  of  December  31, he  had  $44,281.32  in his campaign fund.  No opponents so far.
    State Rep. Jane Smith (House District 8) – Smith, a Republican, is term-limited.  She has announced she is running for the Senate District 37 seat being vacated by Shaw.  As of December 31, Smith had $14,246.73 on hand.  She can use those funds in her Senate race.
    Two candidates have announced for Smith’s House seat – attorney Jeff Thompson and retired firefighter Duke Lowrie.  Both are Republicans.
    State Rep. Henry Burns (House District 9) – Burns, a Republican, is running for a second term.  As of December 31, he had $17,099.38 on hand.  No one has officially announced against Burns.
   State Rep. Jean Doerge (House District 10) – Doerge, a Democrat, is term-limited.  As of December 31, she had $9,013.25 in her campaign fund.  Several potential candidates are making noises about running for the open seat.  

At a glance...
    Here are the area legislators listed by the amount they have in their campaign funds:
    Sen. Robert Adley (R) – $262,870.37.
    Sen. Sherri Smith Cheek (R) – $112,827.24.
    Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R) – $73,064.86.
    Rep. Thomas Carmody (R) – $63,999.19.
    Rep. Jim Morris (R) – $49,175.24.
    Rep. Ritchie Burford (R) – $44,281.32.
    Sen. Lydia Jackson (D) – $24,006.49.
    Rep. Henry Burns (R) – $17,099.38.
    Rep. Roy Burrell (D) – $16,930.12.
    Rep. Jane Smith (R) – $14,246.73.
    Rep. Barbara Norton (D) – $11,702.62.
    Rep. Jean Doerge (D) – $9,013.25.
    Sen. Buddy Shaw (R) – $8,093.57.
    Rep. Patrick Williams (D) – $7,465.15.
    Obviously, there will be several fundraisers taking place this year by incumbents, challengers, and candidates for the open seats.  Incumbent state legislators by law cannot hold a fundraiser while the Legislature is in a special (March 20-April 13) or regular session (April 25-June 23).

By Lou Gehrig Burnett, publisher of FAX-NET

FAX-NET UPDATE is published weekly and delivered to your home or office by fax or e-mail. Subscription rates are: $50 for 12 months (50 issues) or $35 for six months. To subscribe, send check or money order to: Fax-Net Update, P.O. Box 44522, Shreveport, LA 71134. If you have questions, tips or want to do a guest column, call 861-0552 or send e-mail to louburnettatcomcast.net. Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher

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