HEEE’S BACK ... If you thought Patrick LeBlanc was going to quietly go back to running his private prison empire after fellow Republican Page Cortez beat him in last autumn’s District 43 state representative race, think again. Early last month, LeBlanc mailed out a five-page survey to “concerned citizens” in Lafayette Parish. The voluntary survey asks respondents their opinions on a variety of national and local political issues, including potential future challengers for City-Parish President Joey Durel, District Attorney Mike Harson, Sheriff Mike Neustrom, Clerk of Court Louis Perret and state Sen. Mike Michot. It’s clear that even if LeBlanc decides not to make another run for public office, he intends to work behind the scenes to potentially influence future elections.
The kicker? LeBlanc’s note that the survey results will be published in Acadiana Gazette. LeBlanc and Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee member Ron Gomez — one of LeBlanc’s biggest supporters in the District 43 battle against Cortez — are now respectively the CEO and publisher of the small community newspaper distributed in Youngsville, Broussard and Lafayette. It’s no secret that LeBlanc and Gomez aren’t fans of Michot and independent state Rep. Joel Robideaux, whose political action committee Leadership for Louisiana hit LeBlanc hard for his company’s involvement in the Texas prison scandal that recently landed former Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez’s campaign manager a 10-year prison sentence. Patrick LeBlanc has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing related to the case but is currently still under investigation by the FBI.
The big question regarding LeBlanc and Gomez’s new involvement with Acadiana Gazette is whether the paper’s political coverage — if there is any — will become a bully pulpit for its top brass.
BOUSTANY TO INHERIT MCCRERY’S LEADERSHIP PAC ... Second-term U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s stock is on the rise with the pending departure of the state’s two more senior Republican Congressmen. Both Richard Baker of Baton Rouge and Jim McCrery of Shreveport are stepping down from their Congressional seats this year to move into private sector jobs. The Shreveport Times reports that McCrery plans to bestow his leadership Political Action Committee, called the Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism, to Boustany. Leadership PACs are set up by senior congressmen to both raise money and then filter funds to other congressional colleagues and organizations, helping the congressman to boost his stature in party ranks. “I’m going to make [Boustany] as senior as he can be,” McCrery told the Shreveport newspaper. “It will give him a head start at leadership.”
According to reports from the Federal Elections Commission, The Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism raised about $624,000 and spent about $616,000 in 2007. It currently has approximately $368,000 funds on hand. Its contributions have come from a wide variety of industry lobbying groups, with some of the heaviest donations coming in from drug manufacturers as well as physician and other medical industry groups.
JINDAL, LANDRIEU PUSH FOR NEW ORLEANS PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ... Gov. Bobby Jindal and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu have asked the top four presidential contenders to debate in New Orleans this summer. A joint letter sent to Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama asks the candidates to attend “a Town Hall meeting” in June and assures them that “New Orleans is open and ready for business.” The letter reads in part:
“We believe that it is incumbent upon national figures and those who seek the office of the presidency in particular to shine the national spotlight on the people and places in our country which deserve to be highlighted. The people of the Gulf Coast continue to recover and rebuild from the devastating storms of 2005 and those efforts are an incredible window into the many challenges facing not just New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, but our entire country.”
In November, the commission on presidential debates passed over New Orleans as a site for debates, claiming that the city didn’t measure up. The Times-Picayune called the decision “a shameful rebuff” and The New York Times wrote that “a disservice has been done to the electorate and the nation.” The letter also adds: “As you know, the presidential Debate Commission did not select New Orleans as one of their official sites. This was a terrible misjudgment and their reasoning that the city was somehow not ready to host a large scale event was flat wrong.”
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Nathan Stubbs and R. Reese Fuller
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.