During the most recent reporting period, state Sen. Walter Boasso, a Democrat from Chalmette, spent almost $1.6 million; Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, the race's other Democrat from Bossier Parish, shelled out a meager $466,000; Metairie businessman John Georges, the Republican-turned-independent, ponied up a staggered $4.8 million; and GOP Congressman Bobby Jindal of Kenner spent about $1 million.
If you want to know what separates Jindal, the clear frontrunner, from the rest of the pack ' despite his relatively low spending total ' just consider where more than a quarter of his money went. Jindal's expenditure report reads like a breakdown of the old-time Democratic Get Out the Vote machines, with dozens of names of volunteers being paid everything from $50 to $1,000 for work. There are also a slew of salaried campaign workers. In all, Jindal cut 339 individual checks from April to July totaling more than $270,500 to staff and volunteers, far more than any other candidate in the race.
In addition to ways to win, spending also sheds a light on behind-the-scenes maneuvering. Boasso caused a massive political tsunami to take form earlier this year when he dropped the GOP banner to run for governor as a Democrat ' a no-brainer considering state Republicans were already married to Jindal. Just weeks after switching, Boasso's report shows he offered an olive branch to the Legislative Black Caucus Foundation in the form of a $1,000 donation paid for with campaign contributions, or his own cash, which is largely fueling the campaign. He also purchased $2,000 worth of tickets for a Democratic Party fundraiser.
Noticeably absent from Boasso's expenditures following the turncoat, though, are payments to James Hartman of Covington for "consulting services." That's because Hartman jumped ship and is now showing up on Georges' reports as press secretary ' making about $5,000 monthly, or roughly $500 less than what Boasso was paying.
The people and firms candidates surround themselves with are normally scrutinized for any potential conflict, as evidenced by Jindal, who has unarguably been running for governor for four years. He spent about $108,000 with OnMessage of Virginia, a firm that oversaw the national party's $20 million spending plan to elect President Bush in 2004. The Alexandria-based company is known for its snappy ads that build upon a Republican brand, which is a perfect fit for Jindal. He has likewise paid out $10,600 to GCR in New Orleans, an election-consulting firm that ironically helped Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, top Jindal in 2003.
Boasso, meanwhile, has placed $14,000 on the usually-stoic advice of New York's own Arthur J. Finkelstein, a secretive op who has advised uber-conservatives like late President Richard Nixon and former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. Hildebrand Tewes, the Democratic firm behind the rapid rise to fame of presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, is also on the Boasso train, although carrying a bit more luggage (a top exec was recently canned for embezzling $100,000).
Georges decided to keep it local for at least one of his PR consultants, and it's a name most in New Orleans will likely know. Danae Columbus and Associates was paid $3,000 by the Georges campaign during the reporting period. Before Columbus joined up, she lost her communications contract with the New Orleans City Council in December after publicly using a racially offensive term when referring to a set of light fixtures in the council chambers, according to coverage by The Times-Picayune.
No matter who is hired, campaigns are costly, or at least as costly as the candidates make them. Campbell, for instance, spent $10,600 on those pesky, wire-framed yard signs alone. Boasso paid $14,700 for "campaign t-shirts" from the South Carolina-based Lisella Public Affairs, a highly-regarded GOP outfit. Campbell, however, probably had the most fun spending his campaign contributions ' $198 on LSU football season tickets and $320 on individual tickets.
Of course, all of these expenditures just scratch the surface; they certainly don't add up to $8 million. But the sweetest of all expenditures are referred to as in-kind, meaning contributions of goods or services at no charge or less than fair market value. In short, free stuff. No other candidate is more skilled at this perk than Jindal. He was comped $9,000 worth of rental charges for his different headquarters around the state, including Lake Charles, Shreveport, New Iberia, Metairie and Mandeville. He has also benefited from more than $4,100 worth of free hotel rooms, from Holiday Inns to Courtyard Marriotts, proving that voters aren't only bolstering Jindal early in the polls, but they're also willing to leave the light on for him.
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.