[Editor's Note: This blog has been updated to correct inaccurate poll numbers from Ortego's 2007 bid for District 39 state rep., as well as to omit the word 'Cajun' from Ortego's platform of French preservation in Louisiana.]
Mary Landrieu. Chris John. Cleo Fields. And now Stephen Ortego.
Saturday’s eye-popping victory in the House District 39 race, in which Carencro Democrat Stephen Ortego unexpectedly delivered a 10-point win over St. Landry Parish President Don Menard, has earned Ortego a shared spot on the political history bookshelf with some of the most influential Louisiana politicians of late.
At 27 years old, Ortego will be the youngest serving member of the state House when it convenes next year, as were U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and former U.S. Reps. Chris John and Cleo Fields when they were each elected to the Louisiana Legislature.
Ortego secured 55 percent of the vote Saturday in what was arguably one of the biggest upsets in Acadiana legislative races.
“We expected to win. We just didn’t expect to win by that much,” Ortego says. “We could feel it on the ground in the last week. People started really supporting the campaign.”
Menard held endorsements from key statewide industry groups, U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, Gov. Bobby Jindal and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, as well as large-scale contributions from the latter two.
Ortego says the financial boost he received from the Louisiana Democratic Party was standard for a legislative race, but nowhere near the amount of money Menard received Jindal and Vitter.
“We knew we weren’t going to get that kind of money, so we had to be smart about the money we did receive,” Ortego explains. “I think getting out and talking to people really laid out a foundation.”
Ortego ran for the District 39 seat in 2007, placing third in the primary election and failing to secure a runoff. This year, Ortego took 35 percent of the primary vote to face Menard in the runoff. Current state Rep. Bobby Badon did not seek re-election.
Unlike Louisiana heavyweights Landrieu and John, whose fathers both held high public offices in Louisiana, Ortego’s only DNA ties to the Legislature stem from his great grandfather, a former state representative.
As for what’s to come, Ortego’s answer echoes from one of his biggest campaign platforms — preservation of French Louisiana culture.
“C’est pas fini,” he says.
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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
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.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)