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Group picks to try to emulate closed primaries

What do you if the political party closest to your ideology can’t control its own nominations? If you’re the Louisiana Committee for a Conservative Majority, you try to shape general election contests into nomination-like elections.

That’s what this political action committee did this week in announcing endorsements (some actually first named late last year) for Republican candidates. As the name implies, the group, backed by a number of influential conservatives but most notably Republicans Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry and Sen. John Kennedy, supports demonstrably conservative candidates in their election aspirations through in-kind and independent expenditures.

Louisiana’s blanket primary system – really not a primary at all but a general election that allows candidates of any or no party to run together, where if no one candidate produces an absolute majority the top two in votes received advance to a general election runoff – disallows parties any chance of selecting their own nominee for the general election. In a sense, the LCCM tries in the general election phase to ensure conservatives either win outright or advance to the runoff, even if that means defeat of other Republicans – just like in a primary election.


Must ask right questions on LA education policy

To get useful answers, you have to ask the right questions. By and large, that didn’t happen at a recent gathering that looked to improve the state of education in Louisiana.

The leftist Louisiana Budget Project sponsored an “Invest in Louisiana” conference earlier this month. More properly, it should have been called “Invest Even More in Louisiana” because, as speakers admitted, Louisiana already invests plenty but has the worst outcomes, according to national test results.

So, the hedging began. Even though the state spends around the middle of the pack per pupil, one speaker tried to excuse the poor performance by saying – you guessed it – more money was necessary because the state had too many students coming from poor households, and this somehow held them back.


Donelon challenger needs to clarify candidacy

A little-noticed ruling by Republican state Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon reflects the larger drama of struggles between the trial lawyer lobby and reformers.

Earlier this month, Donelon used the powers of his office to issue a cease-and-desist order to State Farm in its attempts to use a hurricane deductible instead of an all-peril one on policyholders suffering damage prior to Jul. 13 relative to Hurricane Barry. The company says its policy language permits the hurricane deductible for damage during a period of a hurricane watch or warning, which Donelon disallowed in saying it should apply only to when the actual storm hits.

The change could affect around 730 claimants, likely in every instance lowering the amount they must pay out-of-pocket. State Farm says if it must follow Donelon’s order that this could boost future rates.


Reasoned analysis points to gov race runoff

Wishful thinking or just clumsy analysis? What to make of observers who think Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards could win reelection outright on Oct. 12?

Earlier this month, State Civil Service Commissioner Scott Hughes, when asked by the hosts of a Shreveport talk show about Edwards’ chances to do this, said he thought it could happen. Hughes was appointed to the SCSC by Republican former Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Last week, in an opinion piece that went over considerable ground, independent journalist Jeremy Alford drew upon history to argue that odds were against Edwards on this, but that it could happen. Unlike Hughes who apparently went on gut instinct, Alford took a census of insiders and reviewed past election results to draw his conclusion.


Thank casinos for stagnant NW LA economy

A quarter-century ago, it supposedly would pull the Shreveport metropolitan area out of the doldrums. Now it prepares to claim another regional scalp.

Tucked into Shreveport’s bond issue plans, a little more than a half-percent of the proceeds would demolish Fair Grounds Field. The 1986 structure took over from the half-century-old SPAR Stadium and, while slightly smaller in capacity, then was considered one of the most modern minor league baseball stadiums with plenty of parking and relatively easy access from Interstate 20.

But the anchor tenant AA ball Shreveport Captains left the area after 2000 and a succession of low-minor independent teams filtered through for the next decade, with the final departure eight years ago. Since then, the city left the place go to pot, allowing it to become the second-largest suburb in the area with 40,000 or so bats (the flying, not hitting, kind) nesting there. With potentially millions in expenses to renovate and no real hope of finding someone to pump in that kind of money, its demolition and conversion at least in the short term to a parking lot popped up among the bond items.