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Breaux entry unlikely to prevent GOP gubernatorial win

As Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s reelection chances continue to wallow, some Louisiana Democrats continue to hope some miraculous candidate on their side emerges to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Now they have increased hope latched onto Democrat former Sen. John Breaux as a potential savior. Should this happen, it would change the dynamics of the contest, but it’s not likely to change the results.

There are several reasons why Republican current candidate Rep. Bobby Jindal should be favored if it ever came down to this matchup in the general election runoff. First, Jindal has a tremendous head start in fundraising. Breaux has many connections and if Blanco bowed out a process could begin of defunding her campaign account and trying to move it over to his, but Breaux will not outspend Jindal in this contest by any significant amount, if at all.

Second, Breaux has been gone from the electoral scene and state for a couple of years, working in a profession wounded by recent unethical behavior by some lobbyists, an issue so important that apparently it was of some influence in determining the outcome of the 2006 elections. Jindal has been politically active and essentially campaigning for the past two years

Finally, Breaux is much more vulnerable on issues that Democrats might wish. It’s not hard to envision Jindal and other major Republican candidate state Sen. Walter Boasso hammering Breaux on a number of things – plenty of past votes showing how liberal Breaux has been in Washington, questioning how Breaux’s 32 years in office did not produce stronger levees, why only now Breaux has come out in favor of reform of Louisiana’s inefficient indigent health care system while Jindal has advocated it for a decade, etc. GOP candidates will have plenty of money to explain Breaux’s warts, something none others in their position have had since Breaux’s first attempt at the Senate.

The campaign theme would be very simple: in 32 years, as Louisiana fell further and further behind on almost every policy metric – economic growth, health care, education – where was John Breaux? What did he ever do to try to prevent this collapse, much less anything successful? What one thing did he ever do for the state, period?

Expect much of this exposure of Breaux to come at the hands of Boasso, for Breaux’s candidacy would eat much more into his support than Jindal’s. This would be a bonus to Jindal, who mainly could sit on the sidelines while one of his strongest opponents chips away at the strength of the other.

A Blanco withdrawal and Breaux entry would cripple Boasso’s chances, and about wipe out any small chance Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell would have to win. Almost certainly Breaux and Jindal would tangle in the runoff. But the fact is, Breaux is not well-positioned for a political resurrection in a climate where then state is slowly turning against good-old-boy politicians (especially of the kind associated with Prisoner #03128-095). The overall dynamic will not change – the GOP, Jindal specifically, would remain favored to win the office.


Anonymous said...

Here comes the Right-Wing noise machine, right on cue! Your wishful thinking comes across as an unabashedly partisan dose of spin.
IF (and that is still a strong if) Mr. Breaux were decide to jump in the race it would be HE who would be favored rather than Mr. Jindal. As we all know, the wide margin of Jindal support is largely a referendum on the current administration. A formidable democratic candidate would easily and very likely to cut substantially into that number.

The fact remains that thousands of Louisianans have been chomping at the bit to fork over hard earned cash in Mr. Breaux's name. Fundraising would be the absolute least of his worries. He would be able to match and spend Jindal dollar for dollar. In this instance, time is on the former Senator's side. Not the congressman's.
Louisianans are smarter than you are giving them credit, Mr. Jeff. You challenge us to name a significant contribution of Mr. Breaux's, but I ask you, what has Jindal accomplished? For someone who claims to be tied so closely to the Bush administration, this close approximation to the President has done little to serve the people of Louisiana who desperately need his help. Instead, he uses Vitter as his lap dog to do his dirty work. His utilization of Vitter has come across as transparent political hackery that even the most naive have seen through.

And the fact that Jindal has been campaigning for the last two years damages his credibility and makes him appear opportunistic and power-hungry (which he is)
And if you want to get into an ethics debate, few will argue his close ties to Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff and Grover Norquist. Hardly a saint.
I don't feel it will be a cakewalk for either, as these are critical times for our state. Accountability is the character issue of the year and if Jindal really sees the errors of our state, then where is he to point these out?

Jeff Sadow said...

Think again. Even two years out of the spotlight would damage Breaux's, the Maryland resident's, chances. Out of sight, out of mind and a chance for people really to reflect on his record. And talk about looking opportunistic, Jindal at least was doing things for the state (and it doesn't seem like a bad thng that a congressman of one district would take that attitude about the entire state.)

And just one thing done by Jindal in his 2 years, since you ask, well, kind of two, is pushing in the House the oil royalty bill and ensuring its funds are to head for coastal restoration. And where was Breaux on this in his 32 years? Nowhere to be seen.

Not wishful thinking, but realistic. Breaux never has faced a candidate of the quality of Jindal -- precisely why state Democrats are so scared to try to oust a sitting governor of their party. Jindal will raise at least $5 million for this contest, while Breaux never has reached that plateau. He could, because national Democrats are just as scared as their state counterparts because of the lie Jindal shows them to live. But, to repeat, there would be no great difference in fundraising, unlike Breaux's past contests, and that would make a big difference.

Jindal's the favorite in this matchup.

JohnnyB said...

Dr. Sadow,

I'll defer to you since your ears are to the tracks, and this is your field, and I am definitely pro-Jindal, but I don't know that he is a favorite with the Maryland resident in the mix. Breaux will still be favored in Cajun country, and Landrieu will stump with him and take credit for the royalty bill. Jindal lost all of Acadiana outside of Lafayette, and just about every parish in North Louisiana to a friendly (i.e. native) face. I don't think this is a referendum on the administration, but a referendum on Louisiana incumbents, which definitely is in Jindal's favor. Whether it is Breaux or Blanco, Jindal had best run hard. I would love to see a non-runoff election, but I am not so optimistic. Don't let the anons get you down, "Mr Jeff".