Search This Blog


Landrieu, Melancon should be very afraid of Boasso

All that we learned from the trumpeted press conference given Monday by state Sen. Walter Boasso is that he’s running for office. Which one, we don’t know.

Boasso used the opportunity to stump for a website he’s created and backs that purports to induce positive change in Louisiana, which doesn’t really have any information on it one couldn’t get from elsewhere. Its whole tenor and tone suggests it’s building money for a war chest and publicity for a political campaign in the indeterminate future.

A number of observers speculated Boasso would use the occasion to announce for a specific office, governor. Ordinarily, with Boasso’s deep pockets (owning a substantial shipping firm), his coming to the forefront of fiscal and governmental reform issues, and being a Republican with a Democrat governor under heavy criticism, one might expect that the Governor’s Mansion would be his target.

His main problem is that he’s three years too late. At the same time the political novice Boasso made his run for the state Senate, then-novice, now U.S. Rep. and fellow Republican Bobby Jindal made a run for governor and came up just short. Since then, Jindal has collected large sums of campaign dollars and a huge surge of popularity that threatens to swamp any other candidate in the quest for the fourth floor in 2007. It also doesn’t help Boasso that he and Jindal roughly come from the same part of the state.

If Jindal, as it very likely, chooses to run for governor, Boasso must know he would have an incredibly uphill battle to fight. It’s a measure of the rock-bottom fortunes of current Gov. Kathleen Blanco that some observers talk of a Boasso candidacy that would assist her fortunes. What they should understand is that not only would Boasso be as likely to peel votes from Blanco as from Jindal, but also the Republicans probably could ace Blanco out of the general election runoff.

But given the chances of having to beat at least one of Blanco and Jindal to the runoff post, there are easier, and very prestigious offices that Boasso could chase besides governor. In 2007, Boasso could do as Jindal is treating 2006 – a warmup election where Boasso next year, like Jindal this year, could draw token opposition and use the chance to start campaigning for higher office earlier, while not having to vacate his current office (and surely Boasso knows that just four years in state government without ever having run for statewide office makes him a little green for such a big-time campaign as for governor).

The next year could be Boasso’s real opportunity. The Third Congressional District could be his target which this year leans towards incumbent Democrat Rep. Charlie Melancon. (This is in large part because his main challenger, state Sen. Craig Romero, burned a lot of bridges among faithful GOP voters when he indirectly aided Melancon in the 2004 runoff against Republican Billy Tauizn III.) Boasso has the resources and the record that could bring this Republican district back in line, especially if the top of the Democrat ticket produces a big Republican year.

However, his ambition may be loftier than that. Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu also must run for reelection in 2008, and no prominent Republican candidate has come forward. With roughly 78,500 more votes gone as of now for her from the state, Boasso would be a good bet to have the state deliver both of its Senate seats into Republican hands. She, and Melancon, should be very worried about Boasso’s increasing profile.

No comments: