The push to unseat District Attorney Mike Harson is moving full steam ahead, with the Keith Stutes campaign announcing at a fundraising fête Wednesday night that it has raised more than $160,000.
[Editor's Note: This story has been updated with details the Stutes campaign provided about the poll.]
|Photo by Robin May|
The push to unseat District Attorney Mike Harson is moving full steam ahead, with the Keith Stutes campaign announcing at a fundraising fête Wednesday night that it has raised more than $160,000. That’s quite a pace considering the former longtime assistant district attorney didn’t officially announce his candidacy until early September — a mere two months ago.
The campaign has a fundraising goal of $500,000 by the end of next summer.
At the event Wednesday at the Petroleum Club, the Stutes campaign’s finance chairman, Sam Landers, also revealed the results of a poll commissioned by Stutes about two weeks before he announced his candidacy. According to the Stutes campaign, Southern Media & Opinion Research conducted the poll of 400 likely voters in the 15th Judicial District Aug. 19-21:
"The poll placed Keith dead even with Mike Harson if the election were held then, with 33 percent undecided. That’s amazing. After voters were asked if they recalled the indictments for bribery, extortion and racketeering surrounding dismissing DUI charges for cash under Mike Harson’s leadership, the support for Mike Harson collapses with almost a 30-point swing in Keith’s favor and placed Keith at a 48-22 margin over Mike Harson. Now that’s truly astounding. The poll basically shows that the incumbent can’t survive."
The central figure in the DUI bribery scandal that had employees of Harson’s office pleading guilty to federal charges earlier this year is scheduled for trial in mid-December. Lafayette private investigator Robert Williamson pleaded not guilty in federal court last week, and this week his attorney, Thomas Damico, asked the court to delay the trial, saying his client is in need of immediate medical care and will not be available to help prepare for his defense.
It's not the first time Williamson has invoked his mental health as a reason for his inability to handle his legal affairs, telling the court in December 2012 that he is bipolar and schizophrenic. In January, however, he changed his mind. Read that story here.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
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Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
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