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3.2.07

Boasso set to run for governor, but with odds against him

So it looks like another heavyweight is entering Louisiana’s Governor’s race, and it’s somebody who could win. But whether that happens is an entirely different matter.

State Sen. Walter Boasso has been a success in the business world and in just three years in the state Senate has compiled a high-profile record. In fact, at this stage in the endeavor he is better known and positioned to win than another wealthy state senator who had served two terms more inconspicuously but who then went on to grab two terms in the Governor’s Mansion – former Gov. Mike Foster.

However, besides both being Republicans the Boasso-to-Foster comparison has little room for stretching because of the differences in dynamics between the 1995 and 2007 contests. Foster waded into a field of lesser names, including former Gov. Buddy Roemer whose aura was tarnished by his managing to come in third to the likes of former- and then-Gov. Edwin Edwards and David Duke. Foster cannily switched his affiliation to the GOP as too many of that party saw previously-switched Roemer as damaged goods and no other Republican looked to emerge. Democrats split up their vote among several candidates but blacks stayed mostly loyal to state Sen. Cleo Fields, putting him in the general election runoff with Foster, enabling Foster to win.

The 2007 contest looks to be totally different. The literal elephant in the field is Rep. Bobby Jindal who already has corralled extensive Republican and statewide support, if polls are accurate. Only two serious Democrats seem set to compete, current Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell so that increases the odds that one, probably Blanco, will corral the hardcore Democrats meaning Boasso’s chances of being able to muscle his way into a runoff are reduced. (And if Blanco defers running in favor of somebody like former Democrat Rep. Chris John, that makes Boasso’s task even harder.)

With Jindal already monopolzing such support, and Democrats ready to rally around any candidate they see as competitive, this makes it difficult for Boasso outpoll either one of them. Against either in the general election he could be very competitive, likely the favorite against Blanco, but getting there will be difficult.

Foster spent millions of his own money to get himself elected in 1995. Boasso may be willing to part with a like amount, but the dynamics of the 2007 are such that it’s likely to be money wasted – if this race doesn’t also serve a secondary purpose as warmup for him for other higher offices in 2008?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that with 75% of the state wanting a Governor who is a Businessman that has never held office before, you fail to mention Imperial Trading Co. John Georges, who has recently been quoted in the press as saying he has set aside 2- 5 million dollars for this race. He could be a HUGE factor.