Tuesday, 07 January 2014 18:38

Where's Jindal? Vitter vs. Landrieu? Don't mess with Mitch

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jindal-betSpeaking of the governor’s race...
    A new statewide survey on the governor’s race, conducted betweenNovember 12-14 and leaked to LaPolitics.com had some interesting results.  It was conducted among 800 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3.5%.


    The poll was conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.
    The poll included a question about a three-man race, with party identification provided.  The results were Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter 35%, Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu 29%, and Dardenne 22%.
    It also polled a large primary field of announced and potential candidates for governor in 2015.  The results were:
    Vitter – 25%
    Landrieu – 20%.
    Dardenne – 12%.
    State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) – 9%.
    Former Congressman and Veterans Affairs Secretary Rodney Alexander (R) – 4%.
    Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) – 2%.
    State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite (D) – 2%.
    Morning Advocate Publisher John Georges (D) – 2%.
    Businessman Jim Bernhard (D) – 1%.
    State Sen.  Gerald Long of Winnfield (R) – 1%.
    Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand (R) – 1%.
    An independent poll conducted by Southern Media Opinion and Research betweenNovember 12-14 had these results: Vitter 30%, Kennedy 19%, Dardenne 18%, Edwards 8%m and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle 2%.  Mitch Landrieu was not included in that poll.  A reminder: The governor’s race is not until 2015.

Where’s Jindal?
    Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter recently said that Gov. Bobby Jindal is planning to run for president in 2016.  But it appears that Jindal has fallen off the political radar of potential candidates.
    A recent Fox News poll of potential GOP candidates came up with these results:
    *New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – 16%.
    *Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz – 12%.
    *Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan – 12%.
    *Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – 12%.
    *Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul – 11%.
    *Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio – 8%.
    *Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – 6%.
    *Former Penn. U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum – 4%.
    *Texas Gov. Rick Perry – 3%.
    If Jindal plans to run, he has a lot of work to do.  He spent a year as head of the Republican Governors Association, but that tenure did not seem to get his name in the pot among potential GOP presidential candidates – at least as far as the pollsters are concerned.
    When it comes to the Democrats, it’s no contest.  Former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has the nomination wrapped up – if she wants it.  If she doesn’t run, Democrats could be in hot water.
    The Fox News poll of potential Democratic presidential candidates had these results:
    *Former First Lady Hillary Clinton – 68%.
    *Vice President Joe Biden – 12%.
    *Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren – 7%.
    *New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – 4%.
    *Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – 1%.
    *Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick – 1%.
    Interestingly, the poll showed that Hillary’s spouse, former President Bill Clinton, is viewed favorably by 70% of those polled.  He, therefore, would be an asset  if Hillary decides to run for president.

More clutter for Cassidy
    The Christmas stocking of Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, who wants to unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, was filled with another lump of coal.
    It is bad enough that he has had to endure the aggravation of another Republican who entered the race – retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness.  
    To the dismay of Cassidy, Maness, who is from  Madisonville, has scooped up the endorsements of several conservative and Tea Party groups.
    Now comes the revelation that another GOP candidate is going to enter the U.S. Senate battle.  State Rep. Paul Hollis of Covington filed candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission in mid-December and is expected to officially announce soon.
    So efforts by GOP leaders at the national and state level to give Cassidy a clear path for his battle with Landrieu have, so far, been a failure.
    Hollis has politicos befuddled.  While he is the son of the late Metairie state Sen. Ken Hollis, he has been in elected office only three years and has no statewide name recognition.
    Declaring that the two front-runners (Landrieu and Cassidy) are just “your normal Washington crowd,” Hollis has already deposited $250,000 of his own money into his war chest. But if he wants to be a viable candidate, he will have to have some zeros to that amount.
    End of the year reports have not been posted, but at the end of October Landrieu had nearly $6 million cash on hand and Cassidy had about $3.5 million.
    Where Hollis fits in philosophically is another question analysts are trying to answer.  He is more conservative than Cassidy, but not as conservative as Maness.  Not much leeway there to carve out a strategy.
    And he is a fresh face compared to Landrieu and Cassidy, but so is Maness.  Qualifying is not until August 20-22.  A lot can happen between now and then.

Lucky Landrieu?
    Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Christmas stocking had a nice stocking stuffer in it.
    No one can deny that Louisiana’s senior U.S. senator wields a lot of power after three six-year terms in the Upper Chamber.  Seniority is the name of the game in the U.S. Senate.
    A game of political dominoes seems on the horizon, which could have Landrieu wind up as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  It’s been more than 20 years since Louisiana has had that kind of clout when former Democratic U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston – whom Landrieu replaced –  held that post.
    The dominoes began falling when President Barack Obama tapped U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, to be the ambassador to China.  His confirmation seems assured.  
    Baucus, who had announced his retirement at the end of his current term in January 2015, would vacate his postion early, therefore, as chairman of  the  Senate Finance Committee to become an ambassador.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, the current chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will likely move over to take over the Finance Committee because U.S. Sen.  Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, who is next in line, is retiring.
    If those dominoes fall into place, Landrieu is said to be the choice of the Senate Democratic Leadership to get the chair of Senate Energy and  Natural Resources.  The ranking Democrat on the committee, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, is retiring.
    Getting that position would coincide nicely with Landrieu’s run for re-election to a fourth term.  Political analysts seem to agree that chairing that committee, which is of vital importance to oil and gas interests in the Pelican State, would give her campaign a huge boost.
    So much so, some analysts say, that Landrieu having that kind of powerful position could help her overcome her vote for Obamacare and bring more money into her campaign, even from Republican oil interests in the state.

EWE for Congress?
    Former four-term Gov. Edwin Edwards is back in the news once again.  The political blog, Louisiana Hayride, said recently that an informed source reported that Edwards was giving consideration to running for the U.S. House seat – the 6th Congressional District – being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.
    hat revelation set off a political firestorm from Louisiana to Washington, D.C.  Edwards represented  the 7th Congressional District from 1965 to 1972 before being elected governor for the first time.
    While Edwards, 86, is being coy about his intentions, he has made no bones about his desire to get back into Louisiana politics.
    If he decides to run, Edwards would be the lone Democrat in the race for the Congressional seat, which is considered deeply conservative. At least six Republicans have already announced their candidacy or expressed an interest in the seat.
    Edwards, who served much of a 10-year prison sentence for bribery, racketeering, and extortion, was released in 2011.
    Interestingly, he cannot run for a statewide office for 15 years without receiving a pardon, however, he can still run and be elected to Congress without a pardon.
    Recently Edwards and his wife, Trina, were featured on a TV reality show “The Governor’s Wife.”  The show was quickly canceled because of poor viewership.
    Most political analysts do not believe Edwards will run, but they say they have learned never to underestimate the “Silver Fox,” as he is affectionately referred to by his supporters.

Messing with Mitch
    New Orleans Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu was heading toward what many expected would be an easy re-election race for him on February 1.
    But lo and behold, there arose such a clatter on the last day of qualifying.  Former Judge Michael Bagneris, respected and well-known in the Big Easy, threw off  his robe and tossed his hat into the mayor’s race.
    Landrieu is white and Bagneris is black.  So this sets up what could be a potentially explosive situation for the fortunes of two Landrieus – Mitch and Mary – in a city that is majority-black and have always supported the Landrieu clan.
    Bagneris is no political novice.  Before being elected to the bench, he successfully ran the mayoral campaign of former Mayor Marc Morial.
    But his attempts to get himself elected to office were unsuccessful.  He ran for an at-large seat on the New Orleans City Council in 1986 and lost.  In 1989, he ran for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District and was defeated by Bill Jefferson, who would hold the seat for 18 years before a bribery conviction in 2009.
    Bagneris was elected to the Civil District bench in 1993 where he has served until his recent resignation to run for mayor. Sen. Landrieu nominated him in 2010 for a federal judgeship, but the White House turned him down.
    Why would Bagneris challenge Landrieu, the first white mayor of New Orleans since his father held the post in the 1970s, who has a hefty campaign war chest and a 65% approval rating?
    Here’s what Clancy DuBos, noted columnist for Gambit and political analyst had to say in a recent column:
    “My sources tell me Bagneris will benefit from a massive anti-Landrieu fundraising effort directed by Republican mullahs who are hell-bent on tarnishing the Landrieu brand in advance of U.S. Sen. Mary  Landrieu’s re-election campaign.  If that means financing a Bagneris campaign for mayor (or mounting  a third-party ad campaign to help him), so be it.”
    Until Bagneris entered the race, the only other real opponent for Landrieu was Dantus King, president of  the New Orleans chapter of the NAACP.  He was not considered a serious threat to Landrieu’s re-election.
    While Landrieu remains the favorite, given the late entry into the race by Bagneris, he will have to walk a political tightrope so as not to turn black voters against his sister in her U.S. Senate race later this year.
    If he can accomplish that and is re-elected  mayor and sister Mary is re-elected to the U.S. Senate, expect Democratic leaders to urge Mitch to jump into the governor’s race in 2015.
Give me a break!
    This is a “Give me a break” segment.  Duck Dynasty star Phil  Robertson created a national firestorm when he made homophobic and anti-civil rights statements in an article in GQ Magazine.
    His comments did nothing to dispel the image many people around the country have that Louisiana is filled with prejudiced and backwards-thinking people.  The show itself also helps to perpetuate that image.
    But here is the “Give me a break” part of the story.  When the A&E Network, which airs the show, suspended Robertson because of his comments, guess who rushed to his defense?
    Yep. You guessed it. Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, professing that A&E was violating Robertson’s right to free speech.
    Some government watchers didn’t miss the irony  in Jindal’s crusade for free speech.  After all, he has fired everyone in his administration who has spoken out against his policies – isn’t that free speech? – and has demoted state legislators who have voted against him.
    It was also surprising to see Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a candidate for governor, defend Roberston’s controversial remarks, an action that could come back to haunt him  in his campaign..
    In a 2009 video, posted on YouTube, Robertson stated that he married his wife when she was 16 and that other men should pick a spouse who is 15 or 16 and make sure she knows how to cook.
    An Aside: Memo to the governor – the U.S. Constitution guarantees that governments – at all levels – will not hinder free speech.  But private companies have a right to defend or fire someone based upon their public comments and beliefs.

Written by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net.  First published on Fax-Net

Lou Gehrig Burnett

Lou Gehrig Burnett is the publisher of Fax-Net, a North-Louisiana newsletter.

www.faxnetupdate.com/ | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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