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LA sheriffs' statewide picks losing significance

Still coveted but increasingly marginalized endorsements came from the Louisiana Sheriffs Association for the 2015 statewide elections, illustrating the slow but steady decline the organization has over political contests beyond the local level.

Throughout its history, the group of 64 representing every elected parish sheriff has played a significant role in elections. Sheriffs, because of their law enforcement and tax collecting duties, in parishes without elected chief executives wield the most political clout, and this typically isn’t that shabby even where they compete with a parish president. With an LSA endorsement, a statewide candidate at least will not have a sheriff work against him in a parish, and may have enthusiastic backing there. Thus, in the past candidates worked hard to secure the group’s nod.

They still do. Sen. David Vitter, who received the group’s backing in 2010 for his Senate reelection, lobbied for it to deliver to him early it seal of approval for this fall’s gubernatorial run. Instead, the group deferred by endorsing no one; it takes 33 votes to secure one.


Likely GOP incremental gains in LA fall elections

After qualifying for state and local elections for this fall in Louisiana has ended, the only question is whether Democrats can prevent their position from eroding further for state offices.

Concerning the seven statewide elected positions, all presently in the hands of Republicans, that status seems highly unlikely to change. They will hold the Treasurer’s position for sure with incumbent John Kennedy the overwhelming favorite. Fellow GOP members Secretary of State Tom Schedler and Agriculture Secretary Mike Strain almost certainly will win without a runoff, while the GOP’s Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, with two Democrat opponents, might get forced into a runoff but that he easily should win. If Republican Atty. Gen. Buddy Caldwell doesn’t win reelection, the GOP’s former Rep. Jeff Landry is the heavy favorite to replace him.

Democrats state Rep. John Bel Edwards and Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden are great bets to advance to a runoff for the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s races, respectively, but would be heavy underdogs to whichever Republican they would face. The question isn’t whether Democrats can win one these spots, but instead how conservative of a Republican will defeat them in their runoffs, with the overall tilt to the right of the political spectrum also becoming more pronounced among statewide elected officials if Landry wins.


Turbulent Caddo, quiet Bossier elections loom

Like man-eating lions and tigers, politicians recently in or being ousted from current offices litter the Caddo Parish qualification lists. Meanwhile, peace and quiet reign for the most part in the Bossier Parish qualifications for elected office, with state Rep. Henry Burns’ ambitions largely disrupting that calm.

Consuming humans doesn’t come naturally to wild cats, but once they find themselves in that situation they often acquire a taste for us. Thus is the same with many politicians and their desire for the bright lights and adulation they receive by winning elections and wielding power; once they experience it, they find it hard to give up. A few such beasts will roam Caddo during the election season.

It may not be coincidental that former Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover will vie to get his old House of Representatives seat back just days after his successor to that Democrat state Rep. Patrick Williams abruptly announced he was deferring on reelection.  Democrat Glover held on to about $10,000 in campaign funds after his term ended in late 2014 but also made plans to have a fundraiser this summer. Williams performed well short of expectations in his attempt to succeed Glover last year, in part dogged by ethics questions over spending related to his service in the House and his campaign. It may be that Williams understood that Glover would present a formidable challenge, and decided with his new degree his energies might be better spent elsewhere.


Beebe letter fails to justify her flight from reality

If being unable to figure out Louisiana’s campaign finance reports and constructing straw men and chasing red herrings qualifies one for service on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, then member Lottie Beebe goes to the head of the class.

Beebe got into a dander when I pointed out, in a letter she sent to The Advocate chastising its editorialists for pointing out the success of education reform as a byproduct of changes wrought by the hurricane disasters of 2005, her paranoia-infused theories about Louisiana’s Department of Education statistics,. Her claim was that shadowy forces somehow exerted enough control over the agency and BESE as to fix data to make it appear that education reforms she bitterly opposed were succeeding. In doing so, she insulted most of her fellow members by implying they were pawns of others and elevated hearsay evidence as her source of her allegation that data coming from DOE could not be trusted.

In my Advocate column, I made several points: (1) that as a member of BESE she had access to all of DOE’s data to check it for herself, (2) that, as a district superintendent, she had her own system’s raw data that she could check against what DOE put out for veracity, (3) that independent research on related indicators confirmed results obtained from DOE data, thereby providing construct validity to them, and (4) that throwing around claims of others’ bias contaminating data ignored her own prejudices against the worldview concerning education that the data to date have confirmed. So she fired off a letter to The Advocate as a presumed response.


The Advocate column, Sep. 13, 2015

Train idea is off the rails