The last election held for the 3rd Congressional District back in 2004 was among the hottest in the state, complete with campaign attacks against family members and old arrest records being resurrected. Based on the jabs already being unleashed by the Louisiana Democratic Party, history could repeat itself this year.
Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon will once again face Republican state Sen. Craig Romero of New Iberia, and the state Democratic Party is coming out swinging. Within weeks of Romero's announcement, Louisiana Democrats issued a press release focusing on Romero's fundraising, criticizing him for meeting Vice President Dick Cheney in Alexandria rather than joining lawmakers on a bus tour of hurricane-impacted areas to open the ongoing special session. ' Jeremy Alford
VITTER GOES OP-ED
On the heels of White House hurricane recovery coordinator Donald Powell's disappointing comments in a Feb. 2 op-ed in The Washington Post, Republican Sen. David Vitter fired back with his own op-ed in the Post on Feb. 12. Vitter, usually one of President Bush's biggest supporters, used some of his strongest language to date in criticizing the administration. "Like most in Louisiana, I've been very disappointed by the Bush administration's recent statements about our hurricane recovery," Vitter wrote. "National and Louisiana leaders seem to be talking past each other rather than finding and building on common ground."
"[The president] has to understand that this is not as simple as saying that you can't build in a flood plain (the White House is in a flood plain) or that you can't build below sea level (the country would have to sacrifice a vitally important energy hub and port system)," Vitter also wrote. "Most of all, he has to understand that the great majority of New Orleans' catastrophic flooding occurred because of breaches in levees that were not overtopped by water but that failed from below because of gross design mistakes made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."
Vitter called for bold reforms in New Orleans public schools and the Charity hospital system, and urged state leaders and local leaders to make tough decisions on rebuilding and present a definitive recovery plan. "As difficult a path as this is, I truly believe the people will accept it ' in Louisiana and across the nation," Vitter wrote. "The real question is, will the Louisiana and national politicians?" ' Scott Jordan
THE $12 MILLION CARROT
As lawmakers continue to debate a single levee district for southeast Louisiana, there's a one-sentence mandate from the federal government hanging over their heads. Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal inserted the language into an appropriations bill, basically holding back $12 million from the state for hurricane protection research until a "single state or quasi-state entity" is created to oversee operations.
Terry Ryder, Gov. Kathleen Blanco's executive counsel, told lawmakers the levee consolidation should satisfy the federal mandate, but he was unable to totally discount another entity formed in November ' the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is meant to serve as a hub for coastal restoration, hurricane protection and flood control. While the language is up for debate, Jindal's one-sentence mandate is the golden carrot being dangled over the heads of lawmakers this session. ' JA
ANOTHER ONE FOR SOS
State Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez says she is "seriously exploring" the possibilities of becoming a candidate in the upcoming election for secretary of state. The post became open last year after longtime Secretary Fox McKeithen died over the summer due to complications from a fall. Since then, potential candidates have been lining up and Dartez, a Morgan City Democrat, is among them.
"I really know I can do a good job, and I know Fox would want me to be there," she says. Dartez also says two of McKeithen's "close friends in Tennessee" have volunteered to help her raise money, declining to elaborate further.
Other possible candidates for the job include state Sen. Jay Dardenne, a Baton Rouge Republican; former state GOP Chair Mike Francis, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, a Baton Rouge Democrate; and Public Service Commissioner Dale Sittig of Eunice. ' JA
SIGNS FOR LEVEE BOARD APPOINTMENTS
Levee board members in Louisiana are generally recommended by lawmakers, appointed by the governor and ratified by the state Senate. But what it takes to actually get recommended in the first place varies, according to Rep. Danny Martiny, a Metairie Republican. "I've put up my share of people who put up [campaign] signs for me," he confessed during a committee meeting last week. After the laughter died down, Martiny admitted it probably wasn't a shining example of good government, but that's the way it went down. "I'm not saying I'm one of the good guys," he added. ' JA
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.