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Spirited GOP jockeying shouldn't repeat 2015

Now that Republican candidates for Louisiana governor have come like throws from a carnival float, is a repeat of 2015 in the offing as some senior party activists fret?

Last week, after GOP Sen. John Kennedy and GOP Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser announced they would pass on the race, first Republican Treasurer John Schroder threw his hat into the ring followed shortly by Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt. With GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry in it for months, that makes for three quality Republican candidates on offer. A fourth, state Rep. Richard Nelson, jumped in earlier this week.

Which was the case in 2015, with Sen. David Vitter, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. Even with Vitter presumed the frontrunner, he made the runoff but behind then-little known Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards, who defeated Vitter heads-up even facing a center-right voting public.


Other GOP candidates offer what Nelson can't

Now GOP state Rep. Richard Nelson has joined the Louisiana gubernatorial fray. Compared to the other candidates already announced, this one seems premature if not half-baked.

The first-term legislator joined two-term state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, two-term Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, and almost two-term Treas. John Schroder, who also served over two terms in the Legislature, all Republicans, in the contest. He obliquely but quite pithily referred to these competitors as “career politicians” in contrast to him who he alluded to as providing “real solutions.”

Of course, they may appear as careerists in contrast to him, as he has been an elected official for just three years – although in proportional terms, he has served almost a tenth of his life in office, at age 36, whereas Hewitt has served just slightly at seven years out of 64, and by years end he’ll have spent as much proportionally of his life in office as she. And therein lies the problem with his candidacy.


Graves has tough, risky choice to pursue top job

As Republican Rep. Garret Graves ponders whether to enter the Louisiana governor’s race this year, a lot of competing considerations make it a tough call.

In the race so far among major candidates, all Republicans, are state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry, and Treas. John Schroder. Democrats almost assuredly will offer up a quality candidate because they can’t concede the only lever of power they have any shot at having for their own, they need a decent candidate at the top to help down ballot candidates, and they don’t want to risk allowing an insurgent to wrest party control from the white elite and its black allies who currently run it (with the recent election of Democrat Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis replacing part of that cabal a warning to them to prevent this).

All three are solid conservatives, with perhaps only Schroder willing to waver on that account. This leaves establishment Republicans – think rent seekers who want to keep their fingers in the pie of special tax breaks and taxpayer subsidies and/or who feel indifferent, if not look down on, voters driven by cultural issues – basically bereft, with Schroder their best but fairly imperfect bet for a horse to back in that lineup.


Hewitt quality, but with tough road to top job

So-called moderates pining for a candidate in Louisiana’s governor’s race this year won’t find one in Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, but she does provide a home for conservatives disenchanted with the frontrunner.

Hewitt jumped into the race last week to provide conservatives with yet a third choice. She followed GOP Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry and GOP Treas. John Schroder. The latter joined in only days before her, but Landry kicked things off months ago and since has amassed an impressive array of endorsements including the state party’s and a truckload of cash to spread his message.

With over her last term, as the party leader in the chamber, a Louisiana Legislative Log score of over 98 and the chamber’s highest (where 100 would be a conservative/reform vote every time), she would fit the bill for anybody-but-Landry conservatives. Her problem is that this alone won’t be enough to catapult her into office.


Bossier Jury must value honesty in hiring choice

We’ll see whether this week the continuing controversy over whether Parish Administrator Joe E. “Butch” Ford legally may serve in that position has anything to do with the Jury giving him another year on the job.

Ford gained the position as the result of a unanimous Jan. 19, 2022 vote by the Jury as the only nominee and secured a one year contract. However, technically he legally could not have been appointed since he was not a registered voter in the parish, as required by state law. Not only did the Jury overlook that, it did so for 10 months until Ford brought himself into compliance, after published reports highlighted that he continued to remain registered at a residence in Caddo Parish.

However, in making this switch, Ford created another legal hassle. He registered at a Bossier address that he doesn’t own, thereby making himself unable to claim that as a homestead and has continued to maintain a homestead exemption at the Caddo residence he and his wife owns even up to this post’s publishing. This puts him in violation of state law that says if you claim a homestead exemption, you can register to vote only at that location.