Gov. Bobby Jindal put his name on the line again for a Republican candidate this weekend and, just like previous endorsements, it failed to resonate with voters. Former Lafourche Parish Councilman Brent Callais, R-Cut Off, had Jindal’s blessing in Saturday’s special election in Senate District 20.
A mail-out that swamped the district in the days leading up to the contest saw the governor calling Callais a “proven leader” and the pair even held a campaign event together. Callais said he was expecting to raise in excess of $100,000 due to Jindal’s star power.
Callais’ opponent on the weekend ballot was former political consultant and landman Norby Chabert, D-Houma, who carried 54 percent of the vote and won by a 1,500 vote margin. In more ways than one, Chabert overcame opposition from the Baton Rouge Establishment — Callais also had support from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and was in good standings with the Louisiana Family Forum and National Rifle Association.
For Jindal, the race presented an opportunity to possibly save face, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. By now, however, he may be used to that feeling. Earlier this year, the governor got involved in another state Senate race and his chosen candidate was handily beat — something that wasn’t missed on political reporters around the state (and nation, in some cases).
In that contest, Jindal even recorded a series of phone calls that blanketed Baton Rouge’s Senate Dist. 16, but it did little to help the chances of local businessman Lee Domingue, who managed to carry only a dozen precincts, making way for fellow Republican and Baton Rouge attorney Dan Claitor to become the district’s newest state senator.