Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who's in with the "in" crowd?

State Sen. Walter Boasso has finally ended the suspense with his announcement that a "formal" announcement of his intentions to run for Governor will be forthcoming. While his candidacy can be described as dark horse at best, it still puts a minor strain on the state's Republicans who had hoped that only Bobby Jindal would bear the standard in the fall. Campaign '07 won't be a "Vitterized" affair for Republicans, and word from the friendly confines of south Louisiana continues to filter northward that at least one more Republican — albeit a non-household name — is still wanting to take a shot at the Baton Rouge hot seat.
Even more interesting is continued speculation that Gov. Kathleen Blanco won't pull the trigger on another term. Fueling that speculation is the interest being shown in the upcoming by some Democrat heavyweights, not the least of which is former head of the state Democratic Party, Jim Bernhardt, top dog and possessor of the key to the bank of the Shaw Group. If this year's run for the governor's seat is expected to be an expensive one, Bernhardt will not be short on ammunition.
Another prominent name among Democrats who's being urged to consider a run is U.S. Congressman Charlie Melancon. Despite his new-found status as part of the majority (and holder of a couple of plum committee assignments in D.C.), and despite his protestations that he's happy with where he is, Melancon could be enticed to make an off-season (meaning he would not have to give up his seat to enter the campaign) run if there were no incumbent in the race. Money, of course, would be no problem for Melancon. Although he's not as well-heeled as Bernhardt, national party members do not want to see this governorship escape the fold. There needs to be some well-established means for credit-taking just in case New Orleans recovery begins to roll forward, and nothing would look better on an '08 resume for the nationals than a Democrat who's making things happen in this state.
A pretty good political guru believes Jindal won't run as well this time around as he did in the '03 elections, even if a seriously damaged Blanco is his opponent. That is fuel for speculation. What many other prognosticators do have in common is their belief that Jindal will have a pretty tough time against a well-organized, well-financed, well-known and politically clean (sorry Barak) Democrat. The question of the moment: will the state Democratic Party ask (translated: demand) that Blanco step aside for the good of the party or will they stand muted in the face of opposition to the incumbent from within her own party?
Already, one name recognized Democrat (at least in the northern corridor of the state) is in the process of tossing his hat into the ring. Public Safety Commissioner Foster Campbell continues to talk like a candidate, walk like a candidate and travel like a candidate. All that remains is for Campbell to sign on the dotted line and begin raising money. Whether or not some "experts" will believe it, Campbell is a threat to Blanco's primary base of support (blacks and those in the lower and middle income brackets) and could be the one person who widens the crack in the levee which will pour other Dems into the race.
Give all this another 60 days or so to shake out. We'll most likely know which way the breezes are blowing about legislative session time in April, and the indicators will almost certainly be pointing in one direction or the other following that session.
And, if the past special session is an indicator, legislative Republicans may have as much to say as mainstream Democrats about which Democrats are in the race.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Blanco can be convinced to step aside for the "good of the party," will the state Democratic party back Foster Campbell? Or is he a little too socio(pathic) for them? Campbell may not need the money, but he needs the backing to get out the real word about his oil and gas processing tax. I don't think he can get it from the state party.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Demo Party will NOT back Campbell. If Blanco steps aside, look for Congressman Charlie Melancon or former Congressman Chris John to get in the race. Melancon has a free shot. He does not have to give up his Congressional seat. It's good to see Jindal get some competition. He is much too smug for me.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Kevan Smith said...

Dude, update more often. You can do it!

12:38 AM  

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