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Fanciful Breaux candidacy thoughts still distract Democrats?

As John Breaux continues to dither with a decision whether to announce a run for Louisiana governor later this year, the reason for that may be turning away from an information search to determine whether he can qualify to run to allowing time for another viable Democrat to get a campaign organization together.

In a note to fellow Democrat Atty. Gen. Charles Foti who is preparing a (nonbinding) opinion on the question whether Breaux has been a “citizen” of the state for he past five years, state Rep. Ronnie Johns pointed out the absurdity of Breaux’s justification – being a partner in property ownership in the state – that has repeatedly appeared in this space: Breaux’s formulation would allow foreign nationals to run for governor. In addition, Johns pointed out that Breaux could not qualify for Louisiana resident hunting and fishing licenses (although the legal question involved is about “citizenship,” not “residency”).

Breaux allies also have floated the idea that he could get a declaratory judgment from the Louisiana judiciary about the matter. But Louisiana constitutional law expert Louisiana State University Dale Bennett Professor of Law John S. Baker, Jr. (who also has outlined the compelling argument that Breaux does not meet the citizenship requirement) asserted on the Moon Griffon radio program that such a case is too hypothetical for it to accept until qualifying produced actual plaintiffs and defendants – early September.

Surely Democrats must be aware of the bind they are putting themselves in with continued speculation about a Breaux candidacy. It is now abundantly apparent the tremendous twisting of the law and Constitution that would have to happen to have Breaux declared qualified – a matter that surely would go to the Louisiana Supreme Court which last year did not start its October term until the middle of the month (the election is Oct. 20). This naked power-grab attempt will further enrage Louisiana voters who already are showing little patience for old faces running for office like Breaux’s, ensuring his defeat. (This, of course, assumes he’s even on the ballot which, if the Louisiana judiciary does its job correctly, he would not be.)

If they are sensible, state Democrats will be using the Breaux circus as a diversion while they recruit a stronger candidate. It could be that Breaux is not out interviewing campaign staffers actually for his own, but for a friend such as Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. In any event, the state should know for sure by about Apr. 17, when 180-day reports are due for campaign financial disclosure, whether state Democrats with Breaux are committing themselves to a suicidal course to lose the Governor’s Mansion and perhaps more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Does a resident of Louisiana have to file state Income Tax Returns?