Qualifying ended at 5 p.m. Thursday; the field is now determined for the upcoming election. There were few late surprises.
There are 10 candidates vying for governor but only one, incumbent Bobby Jindal, with a realistic shot at winning. Several candidates for the Legislature, parishwide office and the City-Parish Council can close their wallets and uncork the champagne because they have no competition, among them state Reps. Page Cortez and Nancy Landry, future state Rep. Stuart Bishop, a political rookie who will skate into Cortez’s current House seat as Cortez slips unopposed into term-limited Sen. Mike Michot’s slot in the Senate; Assessor Conrad Comeaux, Clerk of Court Louis Perret and Councilmen Kenneth Boudreaux and Jay Castille will also be re-elected without a fight.
Libertarian candidate William David Chance will challenge Rep. Joel Robideaux. (Photo downloaded from Facebook)
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, meanwhile, whose registration as a Republican still has that new car smell and who is vying for and has a credible shot at becoming the next speaker of the House, has an unexpected foil in the October election: William David Chance, a 22-year-old member of the Libertarian Party’s State Central Committee and a 2007 graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science & The Arts. If disgruntled former state Rep. Ernie Alexander takes this kid under his wing, Robideaux is Robi-done.
Notable on the ballot that Lafayette Parish voters will encounter Oct. 22 is former Congressman Joseph Cao of New Orleans vying to unseat fellow Republican Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, also a recent defector from the Democratic Party. Cao served one term in Congress representing the Democrat-leaning Crescent City, elected in the wake of Katrina when many thousands of New Orleans voters were still dispersed, and his candidacy was bankrolled, in a manner of speaking, by about $90,000 in cash stashed in now-disgraced and prison-facing former Congressman William Jefferson’s freezer.
Notably absent from the ballot is Democrat and former lieutenant governor candidate Caroline Fayard, who was expected to seek the secretary of state post. Employing some head-scratching logic (not running for office is "service above self"?), Fayard emailed supporters minutes after qualifying ended on Thursday informing them of her decision:
After much reflection, prayer, and consultation with close friends and family, I have decided not to seek statewide elected office in 2011.
When I ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2010, I did so because of a genuine desire to promote our state, its people, and our culture...
In the time since I have grown more determined than ever to work as hard as possible to make a contribution to the state I so dearly love. The paths available to making that contribution are many, but the race for Louisiana’s Secretary State is not the correct one. My decision has not been easy, nor expected, and I hope it is seen as a demonstration of service above self...
Click here to see the full ballot for Lafayette Parish on Oct. 22.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.