If you didn’t get enough campaign finance fodder out of this week’s story, "Vote for Me Dot Com
," on the race to capture the 3rd Congressional District, here’s a bit more to chew on. So far, the four candidates fighting it out have spent more than $425,000 on building modern campaigns that encompass everything from polling and consultants to salaried workers and t-shirts.
Ravi Sangisetty, a Houma attorney, stands out from the rest of the pack because he’s the only Democrat, but his campaign has also expended the most resources in the developing 3rd Congressional District contest — about $260,000. A review of his expense reports on file with the Federal Elections Commission shows a structure that’s thus far unmatched in the race, with several workers and consultants on the rolls.
In fact, during April and March, Sangisetty spent in excess of $41,000 on salaries alone. The only out-of-state salaried worker appears to be Warren Ables of Texas. The rest are from Louisiana, like Lynncal T. Bering of LaPlace, Adam Hensgens of Crowley and Katrina Ann McDonald of Thibodaux. Houma residents on the payroll include Rachelle Netzer, Bobby Pierce, Jennifer Smith and Julienne Uhlich.
With the exception of Ourso Beychok Johnson, a highly sought-after Democratic consulting firm in Baton Rouge, Sangisetty has imported many essential campaign services from outside of the state. This includes $35,000 worth of polling from Myers Research of Virginia and $3,500 in media training from Fletcher Rowley Riddle of Florida, which is a firm that is also used by Congressman Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, who is vacating the 3rd Congressional District to run for the U.S. Senate.
But that’s only a small sampling of the team Sangisetty, a political newcomer, has built — Mobilize of Chicago has been given $3,000 in consulting fees, Hamilton Campaigns of Florida has provided $4,250 worth of research to the campaign and D.C.-based Schaeffer Strategies is serving as a fundraising consultant.
New Iberia attorney Jeff Landry, a Republican, has so far spent more than $116,000 on his bid. Most of his campaign activities are moving through the Virginia office of Littlefield and Associates — more than $64,000 on media strategies, consulting, advertising, mailings and more. As for workers, Landry has given reimbursements to Leilani Hardee of Morgan City and Cherise Guidry of St. Martinville.
Aside from a $6,000 telephone research survey conducted by Teleopinion Research of Virginia and another $6,500 in campaign services to the Minnesota-based Trail Blazer, Landry is spending a good deal of his money in and around the district, like $1,000 in printing to DKM Printer in Scott, $484 for stickers from Bay Lan in St, Martinville and $1,900 in apparel from Lipari in New Iberia.
Former House Speaker Hunt Downer of Houma, a fellow Republican, entered the race shortly before qualifying and had only spent $34,000 on his campaign as of June 30, according to the FEC. Locally, Marco Izaguirre, president of La Casa del Sol Restaurant, has ponied up $1,500 in advertising costs for Downer’s campaign and Jessica Thornton of Thibodaux has earned about $1,500 as a fundraising consultant. Nungesser Consulting of Baton Rouge has pulled down $7,500 doing the same. Outside talent includes TCB Consulting of Colorado, which was paid $3,100 for research services.
Republican Kristian Magar, an oilfield manager from New Iberia, has spent about $13,000 on his campaign so far, focusing largely on grassroots expenditures like newspaper ads and campaign paraphernalia.