Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Now what?

Hardly a minute had passed after Gov. Kathleen Blanco's announcement that she would not seek a second term before experts across the state began analyzing who had gained and who had lost, who was happy and who was running. That speculation continues, and most of it surrounds the mysterious John Breaux, who has been tagged as both the Democrats' best chance of turning back Bobby Jindal, and the carpetbagger from Maryland who the good people of Louisiana will repudiate.
That's pretty bold speculation from both sides considering Breaux hasn't opened his mouth about his plans where Louisiana campaign '07 is concerned. There's about as many saying he will do it as there are saying he won't, and couldn't even if he wanted to (residency requirements and all that, ya know).
There is, according to insiders, a swing factor in Breaux's decision, and it isn't the probability of a court challenge, nor is it the absolute that everything with a door — White House, house house, camp house, hen house, outhouse and dog house — will be opened to see if anything skeletal falls out. It's not even the likely attack on his son's lobbying activities for companies and countries at the heart of issues which Breaux may have broached while he was a member of the U.S. Senate. Some are saying one of the keys to his decision lives at his same Maryland address...his wife.
There is talk among some who know the Breaux family that his wife, Lois, would love to see her husband run. It would mean taking up residence in Louisiana, and that would not hurt the feelings one bit of the Mrs. While there's financial security in the D.C. corridor for John, there are some things which may carry equal weight, such as how much the missus allegedly misses Louisiana. And, as we all know, if mama ain't happy, nobody's happy.
This may be just a little more talk surrounding an interesting situation, but there are those who believe Breaux is considering family options just as strongly as he's considering all others. He says it will be a "couple of weeks" before any decision will be made, but there's still that pesky little John Breaux for Governor web site just waiting to be chocked full with information.
Let's say Breaux does toss his hat into the ring. Who feels the "thud" more than Bobby Jindal? No one comes to mind right now, not even fellow Democrat Foster Campbell who would compete with Breaux for the core constituency. With Blanco, Jindal had a very simple campaign to run and his numbers showed it. Breaux, however, will be a different animal. There will be little Katrina baggage for Jindal to attach to the candidate, and there will be no overwhelming negative numbers to stick to the popular Breaux. The former Senator will also be able to match Jindal's fundraising prowess, and Louisiana could well become a battleground of the national parties which would mean Democrats might enjoy a momentum edge.
Jindal's best hope is that Breaux will opt out, which means he would meet a field which might not include any more Republicans than Walter Boasso and John Georges, and no big names other than Campbell and Chris John, the former U.S. Congressman who absorbed a pretty good thrahsing from David Vitter.
There would, most likely, be a bevy of Democrats — including every term limited legislator who has no real job — to dilute the vote even more.
The "now what" factor in the race now centers in Maryland. The "what now" piece of the puzzle, if Breaux does decide to run, will land squarely in the courts. It's a good bet that both Republicans and Democrats are already working on their briefs, and that's not a reference to wedgies.
Reminder: Our radio show is moving. Beginning Monday, April 2, we will be simulcast on KASO AM 1240 and KBEF 104.5 FM, originating from Minden. In Shreveport and Bossier (Caddo and Bossier parishes), the FM signal is strong. Tune in and let's keep the conversation moving along. There's plenty to talk about.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much did the state Democratic Party have to do with Blanco's decision not to run? I think they pressured her into dropping out -- told her they wouldn't support her -- in hopes that Breaux would step in. I wonder, if Breaux doesn't run, who will the party support? What do you think, Pat?

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Pat Culverhouse said...

We're hearing that a mini-coalition hoping to persuade Breaux to run has been working hard since the Washington Mardi Gras event. Allegedly, this group — made up of some very influential Democrats, including donors — has been working both sides of the street. That means they've urged Breaux to run while urging strongly that Blanco step aside. Apparently, this pressure included the choice of running to lose or moving over and retain dignity and status as undefeated Governor. This group also, allegedly, is asking Mitch Landrieu to make the run if Breaux does not, and it is well known in political circles that Breaux is a huge supporter of the entire Landrieu family. If Breaux does not run, look for it to be Mitch with Breaux's blessing and considerable support.

2:10 PM  

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