The question of who has the most money on hand is foremost in many people's minds, but lots of other interesting tidbits in the reports frequently go unreported. For instance, candidates can use their campaign money to give to charities and churches; such donations offer a glimpse into their character or beliefs. The reports also show how they're spending contributions and who is getting the money, whether it's buying advertisements or Sunday brunch for supporters.
Despite her low standing in the polls, Gov. Kathleen Blanco reported more than $3 million in the bank, more than any other candidate. It's a dubious achievement when one considers that Blanco, a Democrat, has been running for re-election since she was first elected in 2003. Then again, she shut down her fundraising efforts for almost a year after Hurricane Katrina.
Lafayette residents and businesses gave Blanco $143,000 last year. New Orleans residents and businesses gave Blanco $130,550 last year, but she doesn't hold the tiara for most cash collected from the Crescent City. That honor belongs to Bobby Jindal, the Republican wunderkind she beat in 2003 ' mostly because of the huge vote she got in â?¦ New Orleans.
Among Blanco's donors is former U.S. Sen. John Breaux, who coughed up $5,000. Also a Democrat, Breaux reportedly has been considering a run for governor himself ' if Blanco does not run ' a dichotomy that is making for serious political gossip and speculation in closed-door party meetings. Breaux flirted with a run for governor before, but demurred. This time he is rumored to be genuinely interested in the race, provided Blanco does not run.
Blanco spent more than $370,000 in 2006, dropping $11,000 on public opinion polls and $82,000 on radio advertisements. She is known to oppose any expansion of legalized gambling in Louisiana, but she nonetheless shelled out $130.83 for "accommodations" at Sam's Town in Shreveport and the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City.
In the political realm, Blanco made only one contribution of $5,000 ' to Dale Atkins, clerk of Orleans Parish Civil District Court and a longtime close friend of the governor. As for her favorite charities, Blanco, an Acadiana native, donated to the following causes: 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, $1,500; NAACP Baton Rouge, $1,000; Louisiana Governor's Mansion Foundation, $3,750; Lafayette Bishops' Charity Gala, $200; Cerebral Palsy of Louisiana, $100; Plantation Elementary in Lafayette, $100.
Congressman Bobby Jindal of Kenner, a Republican, isn't far behind Blanco with $2.6 million in his campaign war chest, far exceeding the $1 million goal he had set for himself. Nearly all of individual contributors came from Louisiana, and donors from New Orleans sent more money to him than any other candidate ' $244,090. Only $7,000 raised by Jindal last year came from political action committees, which is a meager sum for a Beltway star like Jindal. If he needs them, PACS will be a source that Jindal can tap at any time.
Jindal spent only $22,000 last year, including $12,000 for a mailout in late December. His federal campaign finance report, however, shows that he spent more than $2.3 million on his congressional re-election, even though he was facing only token opposition. Jindal toured every area of the state and advertised in markets that barely touch his congressional district. It was a convenient ' and cost-efficient ' way to spend federal campaign dollars keeping his mug in front of voters in the most populous parts of the state.
One distinction of Jindal's gubernatorial report is a $9,000 payment to the Washington-based Aristotle International Inc., a company that compiles and sells voter information lists, for handling his online donations. Raising money through the Internet is still a novelty in Louisiana, but Jindal may break the mold. His 2006 donations report is littered with hundreds of $10 and $25 donations, the nominal amounts suggested on his Web site.
When it comes to in-kind contributions, Jindal leads the pack. Former Gov. Mike Foster, a Republican who helped Jindal cut his teeth in politics, gave $800 worth of food and beverages for a fundraiser on Pecan Island. Murphy J. Foster III, the former governor's son, gave Jindal use of his private jet at a fair market value of $1,200.
But it's the free rooms that Jindal seems to like the most. He lists more than any other candidate. From the Marriott Courtyard in Monroe to the Super 8 in Lake Charles, Jindal reported at least 19 individual-night stays for a value of roughly $3,542.
W. Gilbert Stroud, Jr., of Metairie is the most important donor to the campaign of New Orleans businessman John Georges, a Republican. Maybe that's because Stroud is the only one who gave in 2006. However, his $250 donation did bring Georges' campaign fund to slightly above $2 million. No, it's not funny math. Georges, the longtime owner of Imperial Trading Company in Harahan, has already dumped $2 million of his own cash into the campaign. He could easily come up with more. Imperial did $500 million in sales last year, and Georges owns interests in a number of companies, including a business that distributes video poker machines.
Sen. Walter Boasso, a Republican from Arabi, is in the same boat, financially speaking. He has only 22 contributions listed in his most recent report ' nearly $16,000 ' and almost all of it from special interests. But Boasso is also independently wealthy and admittedly hasn't even started fundraising yet. He did formally announce, however.
Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Shreveport native and former member of the state Senate, is the Democratic dark horse in the race. His populist message might resonate among voters long fatigued from the state's slow recovery, but he'll have to raise more money than the $577,000 he reported last month to get his message out. Recently, he told reporters his total is nearly $750,000 now. Shreveport gave the bulk of Campbell's individual donations ($82,700).
Expenditures show that Campbell has been seriously exploring the race since July, when he paid the Florida-based Kitchens Group $15,000 for polling. The next month he donated $1,700 to Congressman Charlie Melancon, a fellow Democrat from Napoleonville, as well as $500 to Gonzales state Sen. Jody Amedee and $250 to Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman's campaign. And, in an effort possibly to ward off conflicts between tailgating and campaigning, Campbell's campaign committee paid $1,112 for LSU season football tickets.
No reports were filed by announced independent candidates Anthony "Tony G" Gentile and T. Lee Horn.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.