ELBERT V. THE MACHINE REDUX
State Sen. Elbert Guillory dealt a blow to the Cravins dynasty in 2009, but the patriarch is back with a vengeance.
Elbert Guillory took on the Cravins machine in 2009 and dismantled it. But this time around, with new district lines that could favor his opponent, Guillory may have a much tougher battle on his hands.
Former state Sen. Don Cravins Sr., now the mayor of Opelousas, is challenging Guillory for his old seat in the Legislature — a seat that changed substantially with legislative redistricting after the 2010 Census. With Guillory closely involved in the redrawing, District 24 lost some of its St. Landry Parish territory and shifted into northeastern Lafayette Parish, including Carencro, and St. Martin parish, taking in the western part of Breaux Bridge.
UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross believes the inclusion of north Lafayette may benefit Cravins. “If it were in the previous district, as I understand it, the favorite in the race would be the incumbent. But the district has been expanded south into northern Lafayette where I think Cravins is somewhat more popular.”
The district, however, has also taken in Port Barre, Melville and Leonville, along with more of Guillory’s home base of Lawtell, as well as Lewisburg. He’s likely to run strong in those areas and among whites, who constitute about 45 percent of District 24. Guillory has aligned himself with the Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative religious group with growing influence in state politics. “That is really going to be the question, in terms of the vote breaking down: Are white voters going to be more likely to support Guillory because of his association with Louisiana Family Forum?” asks Cross.
The UL prof stresses that it’s too soon to identify a frontrunner in this Dem v Dem battle. “Right now it’s hard to say who the favorite in it is. The similarities between the two candidates are definitely striking in the sense that they are both African-American gentlemen in their 60s with quite of bit of political experience under their belts who have won election to that same Senate seat before.”
Cravins was replaced in the Senate by his son, Don Cravins Jr., in 2006 after the elder Cravins was elected mayor of Opelousas. When Cravins Jr. resigned three years later to accept a position with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in D.C., his mother and Cravins Sr.’s wife, Patricia, vied to keep the seat in the family. She was soundly defeated in a 2009 runoff by Guillory, who got 62 percent of the vote.
The longshot in the race, Kelly Scott, who also ran in the 2009 primary, could send Guillory and Cravins into a runoff if he pulls enough votes to deny one of them 50 percent of the vote.
Regardless of what Cravins might say are his reasons for running — he did not return a phone call seeking comment — he no doubt has a score to settle with Guillory, who teamed up with the mayor’s political enemies earlier this year to appoint themselves to a task force to review blistering state legislative audits of the Opelousas Housing Authority, where Cravins wielded significant influence before the FBI started investigating, and the city of Opelousas. The latter was particularly critical of how Cravins runs the city — payroll fraud by a department director, bid law violations, free rent of public buildings for city employees, poor controls, no controls — and his foes pounced on him when it was released in early August.
Never one to back down, Cravins is fighting back. “This race is going to be a real tightly fought, barn-burner type race,” Cross says. — LT
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The eclectic vibe of summer
Three bedroom River Ranch cottage or four bedroom Youngsville traditional home
The parent of Investar Bank says its second-quarter earnings fell to $1.1 million or 26 cents a share from $1.7 million of 44 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
1,554 rigs were exploring for oil and 315 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,770 active rigs.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
Most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when people charge money to drive others in their personal vehicles.
In this letter to the editor, Lafayette Parish School Board member Shelton Cobb (the board's former president) weighs in on the difficulty behind this year's budget process, calling out a number of his fellow board members over their inability to drop their power struggle with the superintendent and make the interests of the students a top priority.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
A refreshing twist at a Lafayette institution comes served with a black bean salad stuffed avocado
Marijuana source of disputes for HOAs; experts say still safe to fly; Russian-supported attacks on Ukraine and more national and international news for Friday, July 25, 2014.
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
Style market slated for old Artesia
The city prosecutor has released the case file for Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion’s simple battery complaint against Superintendent Pat Cooper, and the seven witness statements given to police illustrate two very different scenarios.