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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
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.