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
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WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.