Wednesday, October 20, 2010It’s getting ugly, fast, and shaping up to be one of those classic Louisiana political contests where there’s a conservative in one corner and a liberal in the other, with voters keeping score.
But that doesn’t mean he’s taking opponent Caroline Fayard, a New Orleans Democrat, lightly. In fact, campaign finance reports filed with the state Ethics Board Oct. 13 show Fayard — buoyed by family wealth and an early fundraiser with former President Bill Clinton — outspent Dardenne on election day more than 6 to 1: $29,600 to $4,800. She also surpassed his media buy, and the trend is expected to continue until the Nov. 2 general election.
With such a framework, politicos expected Dardenne to go negative first — and he did last week with a statewide radio ad. It pegs Fayard as a “liberal Democrat” in favor of gay marriage and against the death penalty. It also suggests that “Bill Clinton advises her” and that her campaign’s loot comes from her “rich trial lawyer father and his rich trial lawyer friends.” (Her father is Denham Springs attorney Calvin C. Fayard Jr.)
It’s a brutal ad, produced by the same Kennedy that helped him conquer LSU, but Dardenne, a sometimes quiet and thoughtful politician who never achieved success through confrontation, is said to be an engaged writing partner — still waters run deep, as they say.
The ad goes on to call Fayard an “Obama Democrat” who donated money to a variety of officials ranging from former state Sen. Cleo Fields of Baton Rouge to ex-Congressman Bill Jefferson of New Orleans, who was convicted of federal bribery charges after $90,000 was found in his freezer.
There’s likewise a comical indication that it’s only the first of many volleys. “There’s more,” the voice in Dardenne’s ad says, “but we’re out of time.”
Monica Pierre, Fayard’s press secretary, offered a brief statement in response to the new radio ad. “It is what you would expect from a 23-year career politician to attack in this way,” Pierre says. “We are continuing our efforts to speak to voters around the state and focus on the issues that are most important to Louisiana.”
Dardenne, for his part, has been the quicker-picker-upper when it comes to endorsements. Last week, the Alliance for Good Government announced it would back Dardenne in the general election, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a one-time presidential contender still looking to gain influence nationally, found himself in Dardenne’s corner, too.
The biggest boost for Dardenne, however, may have come directly on the heels of the Oct. 2 open primary. That’s when Lafayette Republican Sammy Kershaw entered Dardenne’s camp. While sources say Fayard made overtures to gain Kershaw’s support, it’s not surprising that Kershaw kept it in the party. He certainly had some leverage with his 126,000 votes in an eight-person field, to Dardenne’s 181,000 and Fayard’s 160,000.
But Dardenne didn’t walk away with only the support of a country music star — he also gained a press flack. Amy Jones, a former Lafayette resident who was previously handling media outreach for Kershaw, is now attached to Dardenne’s team. No word yet on what Kershaw may have gotten out of the trade.
Kennedy, the brother of state Treasurer John Kennedy, still seems to have his political tenure within the Dardenne brand.
Fayard, not to be outdone, has a media ringer in Pierre, probably best known for co-hosting WWL “First News with Bob DelGiorno” — it still remains one of the most listened-to radio shows in southeast Louisiana. Her journalism career stretched over 23 years in the Crescent City, and she has an Emmy to her credit. But neither Jones nor Pierre alone will be enough to get their bosses into office.
The race has some interesting dynamics. Fayard considers New Orleans her home base, and Dardenne is among the few Republicans who run strong in the region. But Fayard is actually from Livingston Parish and has just as many roots in the Baton Rouge region, Dardenne’s true home turf.
Then there’s age. Dardenne is 56 and Fayard is 32. On camera, in a debate, this main difference will shine through, with Fayard’s bubbly personality and attractive charm. Dardenne’s no slouch, though. He honed his skills over the years appearing on the annual Labor Day telethon in the Baton Rouge region, a spotlight gig he has long since given up, and he gives a presentation on Louisiana history that is unrivaled. He’s a performance artist and one of the more skilled politicians of his generation.
But Fayard argues it’s time for a new generation to take over. Good thing for her she’s still young. Plus, statewide elections are just around the corner and — should she lose — the Louisiana Democratic Party is going to need someone strong to run for statewide office, and against Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is 39 and ran on his own promises of generational change.
Of course, whoever does win the contest would jump into the top spot should Jindal run for the U.S. Senate, end up on a presidential ticket or just get plain tired of politics — which isn’t likely to happen. But the less Jindal says about his ultimate ambitions, the more just about everyone believes he lusts for national office.
And that makes the Nov. 2 general election for lieutenant governor a lot more than a race about culture, recreation and tourism.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 16, 2014:
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
Chris Williams knows how to pilfer from the public coffers, this time with a back-pay lawsuit filed three years ago against the Lafayette Housing Authority, which netted the former city-parish councilman a cool five figures.
McAllister's office vowed that he intended to stay in office — for now. As for questions about whether he would stand for re-election in November, those were dodged.
The Green Army's Lafayette brigade has announced it will pay a visit Friday morning to Sen. Page Cortez to urge him to vote against Sen. Robert Adley's SB 553, which the group is calling the "Big Oil Bailout Bill of 2014."
For the sixth consecutive year, Andy Nyman, LSU associate professor of wetland wildlife management, and his service-learning students plan to spend spring break differently from those students flooding the beaches of Florida.
When a BP oil well began gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, fisherman George Barisich used his boat to help clean up the millions of gallons that spewed in what would become the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.
The legislation — House Bill 503 by state Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport — passed by an 8-5 vote and advances next to the full House.
The Republican Party of Louisiana has had enough with the philandering hypocrite Vance McAllister. David Vitter? Eh...
A top aide to a Louisiana congressman videotaped kissing a married woman who is not his wife was one of the few people with access to the leaked security footage that exposed the dalliance.
Louisiana would repeal an unconstitutional state law prohibiting intercourse between two people of the same sex, if lawmakers agree to a bill that narrowly received the backing of a House committee Wednesday.