JINDAL FINDS AN ENEMY TO RUN AGAINST With no incumbent running for re-election, U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Kenner Republican, was at a slight disadvantage coming out of the gate in his gubernatorial bid because he had no one to demonize and run against. This might be why he led off his issues campaign with corruption and ethics reform. But thanks to the Louisiana Democratic Party and its attacks on Jindal's religious writings, the frontrunner finally has a foe worthy of targeting: The Dems. Michael DiResto, a Jindal spokesman through the state GOP, is scrambling to find a way to link the ads, which ran largely in north Louisiana, to particular party donors. "I think the voters would like to know certain things about them, like how many of them come from out of state," he says. From a strategic standpoint, the attack on Jindal worked in one sense: It has knocked him off of his free media message. But his nonstop, statewide bus tour is keeping his public conversation alive. The ads have clearly backfired on the state Democratic Party and in the end could energize the evangelical base for Jindal, anointing him the Louisiana head of a national get-out-the-vote trend started by uber-consultant Karl Rove and President George W. Bush... SPEAKING OF RELIGION It may be difficult to recall, but the 1983 Treen-Edwards match-up had its own religious flare-up. Luckily for former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was victorious in that race, the news didn't reach the masses until the week before his inauguration. Shreveport Journal Editor Stanley Tiner got Edwards on the subject of religion during an interview where he discovered in Edwards' bathroom "Tocqueville's Democracy in America, the Bible and the latest issue of Playboy," John Maginnis writes in The Last Hayride, which chronicles the historic contest. Tiner asked Edwards ' who was raised Catholic, born again Nazarene, then reconverted Catholic ' if he believed Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried and resurrected. "No," Edwards responded. "I think Jesus died, but I don't believe he came back to life because that's too much against natural law. I'm not going around preaching this, but he may have swooned, passed out or almost died, and when he was taken down, with superhuman strength, after a period of time he may have revived himself and come back to life." Edwards also said he was more than likely not going to heaven, "just as will most people I know." While the interview did little to stir emotions in south Louisiana, the piney woods up north were all in a tizzy. It's the same base that the Louisiana Democratic Party targeted with its religious ads regarding Jindal, and the same demographic that was seemingly turned off by the attempt. In the end, surprising even himself possibly, Edwards got away with his bold faith-based gesture, but the modern Democratic Party may not... VOTER PURGE DRAWS NAACP LAWSUIT The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed suit last week against state election officials after Secretary of State Jay Dardenne announced that about 19,000 people are being dropped from the state's voter rolls. The suit, filed in federal court in New Orleans, complains of discrimination, citing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which mandates that Louisiana ' because if its history of racial discrimination ' must have federal approval before purging its rolls. Louisiana's gubernatorial primary is weeks away, on Oct. 20. Qualifying began on Tuesday. On June 15, Dardenne mailed out more than 55,000 letters to Louisiana voters living out of state since Hurricane Katrina, whose names and birth dates matched registered voters in other states. The letters told voters they must give up their registration in other states or lose the right to vote in Louisiana. One month later, on Aug. 17, nearly 20,000 voters were dropped from the rolls, 7,000 of them from Orleans Parish. According to The Times-Picayune, state Rep. Juan LaFonta, D-New Orleans and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, wrote a letter to the Justice Department calling Dardenne's action "a veiled effort to bleed the voting rolls of African-American and minority voters before an important election season in the state of Louisiana." Dardenne is a Republican. Defendants named in the suit are Dardenne, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Attorney General Charles Foti and Louisiana Elections Commissioner Angie LaPlace... POPPING FOTI'S BUBBLE Attorney General Charles Foti, a Democrat who has pulled the state into court over some of the most controversial public cases in recent memory, did a little touchdown dance last week when a federal court named him special master to file suit on behalf of all unrepresented parties suing the feds for levees breaks in New Orleans and damages caused by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet. The decision certainly made Foti an important voice for the voiceless. "I consider this a victory," he says. But his tone changed Wednesday when a federal appeals court ruled Foti wouldn't be able to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval says the previous ruling was made without proper authority and Foti will not be able to play Robin Hood to voters... NANCY LANDRY DRAWING REPUBLICAN HEAVY HITTERS Nancy Landry, a registered independent running for District 31 state representative, is drawing in some notable GOP donors in her bid to unseat Republican incumbent Don Trahan. Last week, her campaign pulled in approximately $10,000 at a Baton Rouge fund raiser hosted by Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, at the Jimmie Davis House, where LOGA's office is located. While not a LOGA affair, the $250 per couple event drew in contributions from several oil industry conservatives including Mark Goodyear, Mark Miller of Merlin Oil, landman Todd Fontenot, and Neil Buckingham, a lobbyist for Shell Oil. Landry has reported raising more than $100,000 for her campaign thus far, with a list of Republican contributors including former state Rep. Ron Gomez, River Ranch developer Robert Daigle and Dwight Andrus III. Trahan, who has been endorsed by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, reported having $32,000 in the bank on his last campaign finance report, filed at the beginning of the year.

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