PRO-JINDAL GROUP RAISES NEARLY $750,000 The cost of gas, health care, and groceries keep going up, up, up, and the economy is struggling. But all’s good if you’re Believe in Louisiana, the non-profit group whose sole mission is to tout Gov. Bobby Jindal’s agenda and legislative accomplishments. The Times-Picayune reports that in just three months, Believe in Louisiana has raised nearly $750,000 — and it’s already spent more than $600,000 of that figure with a Virginia-based media firm.
The group was formed by Baton Rouge Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister, who also served as Jindal’s campaign treasurer. It’s organized as a 527 group, which isn’t restricted by campaign finance limits and allows for unlimited contributions. The Picayune notes: “... $625,000 of the donations came from fewer than a dozen people or companies, including four that gave $100,000 apiece: Lee Domingue, of Baton Rouge; Joseph Canizaro, of New Orleans; Bollinger Shipyards, of Lockport; and Edward Diefenthal, of Metairie. McCollister donated $4,100 himself.”
DARDENNE STAYING PUT FOR NOW In the current battle between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and her challenger, Republican Treasurer John Kennedy, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne was the wild card. Republican Dardenne, who’s widely respected and has high approval ratings among fellow Republicans and lawmakers, has been hedging his bets for months when asked if he’d join the fray. Injuries he sustained in an auto accident last fall put most of the campaign talk on the back burner for months.
Last week, Dardenne made it official: he’s staying put. For Kennedy, whose campaign has gotten off to a relatively slow start, it’s especially good news that he won’t have a fellow Republican to contend with in the race. The timing of Dardenne’s announcement was also a boon for Kennedy, who’s hoping for a fund-raising and name-recognition boost in the wake of President George Bush hosting a fund raiser for him last week in Baton Rouge.
As for Dardenne’s future political plans, he’s seen as a formidable challenger to U.S. Sen. David Vitter if Vitter runs for re-election in 2010.
AND SPEAKING OF KENNEDY AND LANDRIEU Landrieu has a 50 percent-38 percent lead over Republican challenger Kennedy, with 11.6 percent of voters undecided, according to a recent statewide poll. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. Louisiana’s senior senator, Landrieu is seeking a third term.
Interviews for the poll by Southern Media & Opinion Research were completed between March 26 and April 9 by telephone with 600 likely Louisiana voters; the results were released last week. Voters were asked who they’d vote for if the November election were held today.
Landrieu also received a 70 percent approval rating, which pollster Bernie Pinsonat says is extremely good, and Kennedy almost 48 percent. The good news for Kennedy is that 45 percent of the voters said they do not know enough about him to give an impression, so he has time for those numbers to move upward. Pinsonat says that he isn’t working for either candidate.
On the fund-raising front, Kennedy faces an uphill battle. While his $1.4 million raised in the first quarter of 2008 bested Landrieu’s $1 million haul, Landrieu has more than $4.5 million cash-in-hand, while Kennedy has approximately $1.6 million on that front.
LAKE PEIGNEUR BILL DIES Last Thursday, members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted against a bill that would have limited the expansion of natural gas storage caverns under Jefferson Island. It was a major setback for the citizens group Save Lake Peigneur, which has been fighting against the expansion for more than a year. Sen. Troy Hebert, SB 194’s author, told The Daily Iberian that the committee is “very friendly” with the oil industry. He added, “That lake has been poked more times than my grandmother’s pincushion.”
The group AGL Resources intends to add two caverns to the existing facility. Save Lake Peigneur Vice President Nara Crowley told The Daily Iberian, “The bottom line is that the lobbyists and the company, the people with the money, they could afford to sway the vote.” The bill sought to protect “the ground water of Lake Peigneur by prohibiting the development, expansion, or conversion of certain storage caverns in the Jefferson Island salt dome.” The vote against the bill was 4 to 3.
Contributors: Scott Jordan, Leslie Turk and R. Reese Fuller
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
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Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
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A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.