If there was any doubt about the national Republican Party’s commitment to his U.S. Senate campaign, state treasurer John Kennedy put those to rest yesterday when he announced that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was hosting a fundraiser for him on April 22 in Baton Rouge, and that President Bush will be among the distinguished guests. Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. David Vitter, and the state’s four Republican Congressmen are co-hosts. Tickets are $2,000.
Kennedy, a longtime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party last year, is challenging U.S. Sen. Mary Landreiu’s re-election bid. Kennedy also ran for Senate in 2004, as a Democrat, an election won by David Vitter. Last year, Kennedy reportedly met with Bush's chief policital strategist, Karl Rove, to discuss this year's senate election. The fundraiser is another signal that Kennedy is the GOP’s choice candidate for the senate seat, though Secretary of State Jay Dardenne has yet to rule out the possibility of challenging Kennedy in a Republican primary. Meanwhile, Landreiu is trying to use Bush’s visit to capitalize on her own fundraising, saying that Kenndy will likely pocket $1 million from the event – a number she is challenging her supporters to match.