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The Rundown: Oct. 13, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Lieutenant governor candidates talk priorities; Common Core scores below state goals; and more.

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Days until the 2015 primary election day:  11
Days until the runoff (as needed): 39
Days until the Iowa caucuses:

Early voting is underway. 

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal? Gov. Jindal is campaigning in Iowa this week.

The News

Common Core: Louisiana students fell short of meeting the state’s goal for Common Core test results.

Jindal: During a television appearance on Sunday, Gov. Jindal wouldn’t say who he would like to see be the next Speaker of the House. He also defended remarks he made about mass shootings and talked about the ISIS.

LT Gov: Lieutenant governor candidates took part in a forum in Baton Rouge on Monday.

LA Lege: A look at the House District 29 race.

BESE: A majority of the state education board members will be decided on Oct. 24.

Elections: A look at the race for agriculture commissioner.

Coming up

  • Wednesday: LPB and CABL host a debate among three candidates for governor — John Bel Edwards, Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle — on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
  • Thursday: Those three gubernatorial candidates will be joined by David Vitter for a state-wide televised debate from the campus of Louisiana Tech University.

At the Capitol

  • Thursday: Interim Emergency Board meets at 9:30 a.m.; the State Boand Commission meets at 10 a.m. and the task force on campus sexual assault meets at 10:30 a.m.

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Tips, comments or suggestions? Send your feedback to or @elizabethcrisp on Twitter.

Jay Dardenne: Road work a no-go for coastal restoration dollars

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is assuring the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana that if he’s governor he’ll block use of coastal restoration dollars for road work.

“I do not support Governor (Bobby) Jindal’s attempt to use ‘surplus’ coastal dollars to constructing the next phase of elevating La. Highway 1.,” Dardenne wrote the coalition’s executive director Kimberly Davis Reyher.

“If I am elected governor, I commit to reversing this policy should it pass at the upcoming Oct. 21 meeting (of the Coastal Restoration Protection Authority)  or any subsequent meeting,” Dardenne continued.

Dardenne said he wants all coastal dollars, including those from the BP oil spill disaster settlement, going to implementation of the coastal Master Plan.

Dardenne called Jindal’s idea  an “ill-conceived diversion of funds.”

“We need to divert the flow of the Mississippi but, we should not divert funds away from restoration. Even if such diversion is legal, it is not the right thing to do,” Dardenne concluded.

Bobby Jindal declines to name his top pick for U.S. House Speaker

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stopped short of naming his favorite to become the next U.S. House speaker during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on Sunday.

Jindal, who was interviewed as he campaigns in Iowa for the GOP nomination for president, was asked specifically to comment on the possibility of Congressman Paul Ryan seeking the speaker role. But Jindal didn’t say whether he supports Ryan, nor did he name anyone else he’d like to see in the position.

“It’s not about personalities, it’s about a speaker who will say, ‘I’m willing to fight for conservative principles,'” said Jindal, who called Ryan “a friend. He’s principled. He’s intelligent.”

Louisiana Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, currently the No. 3 in line in the House, had been setting up an anticipated run for Majority Leader until Kevin McCarthy announced he would not run for Speaker. Scalise has since said he’s backing Paul, though some have speculated Scalise could mount his own run for Speaker.

Later in the interview, Jindal defended comments he made about mass shootings being linked to “cultural decay” — including violent video games and absent fathers. Jindal, in an op-ed,  wrote last week that the father of the man who recently killed nine people on at an Oregon community college “should be ashamed of himself” and “owes us all an apology.”

During the This Week interview, Jindal said he took issue with the shooter’s father “lecturing” the public about guns.

“I absolutely believe he has no right to be lecturing the rest of us. Look, gun control is not going to solve this,” Jindal said. “He doesn’t need to be lecturing us on gun control. We need to fix our culture. We need a renaissance of decency.”

The Rundown: Oct. 12, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Why early voting is important; gubernatorial goes negative; and much more.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Days until the 2015 primary election day:  12
Days until the runoff (as needed): 40
Days until the Iowa caucuses:

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal? Gov. Jindal is campaigning in Iowa this week.

The News

Governor: Candidates use negative ads to boost standings in Louisiana governor’s race

Elex: Why early voting matters in Louisiana

LA Gov: The RGA is getting into the Louisiana governor’s race a bit earlier than expected.

BESE: Oct. 24 primary will determine majority of BESE, and more

Ag commish: Money is the issue as Agriculture chief Strain faces three challengers in Oct. 24 primary

ICYMI: Here are The Advocate’s recent profiles on each of the four major candidates, plus the other lower-tier candidates in the race: Scott Angelle (; Jay Dardenne (; John Bel Edwards ( ); David Vitter (; and others (

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Tips, comments or suggestions? Send your feedback to or @elizabethcrisp on Twitter.



Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, lands lobbying client

Washington — Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, has signed her first deal with a client in her new career as a D.C. lobbyist, The Hill reports.

Landrieu, defeated in 2014 in her bid for a fourth term in the Senate, will work to revive a moribund “clean coal” project that lost its federal funding.

Landrieu is barred from lobbying Congress for two years after leaving office, but she may lobby the administration.



Family Forum releases Voter Guide

Louisiana Family Forum, the influential socially conservative advocacy group, released the 2015 Online Louisiana Voter Guide that allows voters to compare candidates for races for their individual district and create a .pdf of preferences.

Candidates answered questions about their stands on 15 issues, including abortion, same-sex marriage, Common Core, and tax increases. The voter enters their name and address, Family Forum pulls up the ballot from precinct and shows how the candidates compare based on the questionnaires.

The voter is then prompted to make a choice.

“This resource will assist voters in selecting their favorite candidate,” The Rev. Gene Mills, president of Louisiana Family Forum, said in a press release. “Those elected will decide the direction of our state for years to come. This election is your opportunity to make sure your values are represented.”

The primary to elect a new governor and new legislators as well as the major statewide offices and some local posts is Oct. 24. Early voting began Saturday and continues through the week to next Saturday, Oct. 17.

Run-off elections, if necessary, will be held Nov. 21, a Saturday.


Iowa GOP chair predicts Republican race there will break late

In an interview with the Sioux City Journal, the chairman of the Iowa GOP provided a bit of insight into why Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal remains in the presidential race despite low polling.

Speaking in general about the Iowa caucuses and not specifically about Jindal, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said he predicts the race to win Iowa will break late because many Iowans remain undecided or still have a handful of favorites.

“Iowa is wide open,” he told the paper, adding that Republicans there tend to prefer outsiders but also appreciate executive office experience.

Jindal has heavily played up both themes, highlighting his experience as governor and frequently blasting Congress and the “D.C. establishment.” Given Kaufmann’s comments, that could work to his advantage.

The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 1.

Jindal has made Iowa central to his campaign strategy. He’s held more than 100 campaign events in the past two months and has a full schedule there this weekend. He plans to visit every one of the state’s 99 counties. And he has seen some growth there.

But people, particularly his detractors in Louisiana and some in the media, have frequently pointed to his low polling and wondered when he would get out of the race — especially after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry dropped their bids.

Jindal’s campaign struck back at a recent Politico piece quoting unnamed “insiders” who speculated Jindal and former New York Gov. George Pataki would be the next to jump ship. Jindal’s team signaled he had no intentions of leaving the race soon.

“It seems like these ‘insiders’ need some adjustment in their prediction methods,” Jindal’s campaign shot back at the time.

Kaufmann’s suggestion that the state is still very much in play is likely just what the Jindal campaign is betting on.


Jindal draws applause, stays late on Iowa campaign trail

Bobby Jindal takes the Iowa State Fair stage, chats with immigration activists

Jindal runs ‘lean’ Iowa-centric campaign

U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, backs Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., for House speaker

Washington – U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Friday morning that he wants to see Paul Ryan elected as the next speaker of the House.

That would preclude a run for the speakership by Scalise, of Jefferson, himself – at least until Ryan decides whether he will seek the job. So far, Ryan, R-Wisc., has said he won’t, but he is under increasing pressure from the fractured Republican majority to make a run.

(AP file photo)

(AP file photo)

The Republicans were thrown into chaos Thursday by the unexpected decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, to withdraw from the campaign to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner, of Ohio. McCarthy was considered the odds-on favorite to gain the endorsement of the Republican Conference, the collective organization of the House Republicans. But intraparty dissension clouded his ability to win a vote in the full House, the hurdle that must be cleared by the speaker, whose position is established in the Constitution.

In anticipation of McCarthy’s ascension from the No. 2 leadership job of majority leader to the speaker’s chair, Scalise – now No. 3 in the majority hierarchy, as whip – declared he would run to succeed McCarthy. He told his supporters early this week that he had the majority support in the Republican conference needed to win. But McCarthy’s decision to end his bid for speaker means there is no longer a vacancy to fill, as McCarthy has said he will remain majority leader.

Scalise, 50, who was elected to Congress in 2008 and chosen whip last year, has been considered a potential candidate for speaker. But Ryan, who was the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, appears to be the consensus choice.

Scalise’s father, Alfred J. “Al” Scalise, of Metairie, passed away early Friday morning and he returned to Louisiana soon after announcing his support to Ryan.

Ryan, chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, has consistently said he is not running for speaker, but Boehner and McCarthy have urged him to do so – and his 2012 presidential running mate, Mitt Romney, also has reportedly called him to reinforce the message.

After a closed-door Friday morning meeting of the Republican Conference, some Republican House members said Ryan has indicated he will consider the appeals, likely discussing the situation with his family this weekend. The father of three young children, Ryan, 45, has expressed concern about the heavy demands of the speaker’s job, which involves extensive travel to raise campaign money for his fellow Republicans.

If Ryan does not run, there is no obvious second choice. Before McCarthy withdrew, Jason Chaffetz, of Utah, and Daniel Webster, of Florida, announced they would challenge him, but neither has rallied broad support. Several other names have surfaced, but on one else has flatly declared a candidacy.

As an incumbent member of the leadership, Scalise, if he were to run, could encounter the same difficulties that helped derail McCarthy — and Boehner, whose announcement Sept. 25 that he would step down Oct. 30 was a surprise of its own. Boehner now seems likely to stay in the job beyond this month.

In dropping out of the race, McCarthy said the Republicans need a “fresh face” as speaker.

Boehner’s decision to quit was fueled by a right-wing revolt in the Republican ranks, centered in the House Freedom Caucus, an organization of about 40 deeply conservative members created early this year to drive the party’s agenda to the right.

The Freedom Caucus and some other House Republicans are upset by Boehner’s tactics on controversial issues such as defunding Planned Parenthood, the Iran nuclear deal and Democratic President Barack Obama’s executive orders waiving deportation for some categories of undocumented immigrants. Despite majorities in both the House and Senate, the Republicans are not strong enough to steamroll Senate Democrats – who old more power, under Senate rules, than their House counterparts – nor to override presidential vetoes.

Boehner has avoided confrontations with the Democrats that would risk a government shutdown, like the 16-day stoppage in 2013 that moderate Republicans say damaged the party’s image. But many in the Freedom Caucus want to push the Democrats to the limit — and they say their constituents are demanding a take-no-prisoners approach.

Republicans now hold their largest House majority since the 1920s, a 247-188 edge over the Democrats. But the Democrats likely will vote for their own leader, Nancy Pelosi, of California, as speaker, meaning a defection of 30 Republicans from their party’s nominee would deny him or her the majority needed.

It was the prospect of just that sort of defection that played into Boehner’s decision to resign. And it apparently triggered the withdrawal of McCarthy, who said he was not the person to unify the party.

The Freedom Caucus endorsed Webster on Wednesday. But if it has the power to block an election for speaker, it lacks the strength to anoint a winner.

The 2014 election for whip, won by Scalise, was set off by another Republican shake-up: McCarthy, who was then whip, moved up to majority leader when his predecessor, Eric Cantor, suffered a startling defeat in a Virginia primary to Dave Brat, now a Freedom Caucus member. Scalise defeated two other contenders as a proven conservative from a red state, promising to bring that perspective to a leadership team that otherwise includes blue-state Republicans.

But that was then; now Scalise would be bucking the kind of anti-establishment tide that has vaulted non-politicians Donald Trump and Ben Carson to the top of opinion polls on the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. And several Republican candidates, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have lambasted their fellow party members in Congress as part of the problem, not the solution.

As a loyal member of leadership, Scalise has more than once followed Boehner’s cue in opposition to the conservative confrontationalists, voting with Democrats to pass legislation opposed by a majority of Republicans, including every other House Republican from Louisiana. Such was the case Sept. 30, when the House passed a stopgap federal-government financing measure that did not defund Planned Parenthood, a conservative target since the release of undercover videos showing organization executives discussing what it would cost putative medical researchers to obtain tissue samples from fetuses aborted at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Those kinds of votes have won Scalise – as well as Boehner and McCarthy – the enmity of right-wing groups, who have demanded the heads of all three Republican leaders.

Another, broader source of concern is Scalise’s 2002 speech in Metairie, while a state representative, to a group that had gathered for a meeting of a white-supremacist organization founded by neo-Nazi David Duke.

The controversy over that speech erupted in late 2014, when a Louisiana blogger publicized the incident. Scalise said he did not know of any Duke links among his audience and that he regretted his appearance. Although some Democrats called for his resignation, Boehner and McCarthy stood by him, and Scalise survived. But Duke-connected criticism of Scalise has continued – including recently from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest – and some Republicans may be loath to add fuel to the fire by installing Scalise in the high-profile post of speaker.

On the plus side for Scalise, he is well-liked in the Republican Conference, and in his role as whip, he has frequent contact with members and plumbs their positions and concerns.


RGA unveils ad in Louisiana governor’s race

Louisiana governor 2015 david vitter, jay dardenne, scott angelle, john bel edwards

Gubernatorial candidates (L to R): David Vitter, Jay Dardenne, Scott Angelle and John Bel Edwards.

The Republican Governors Association has released its new ad targeting Democrat John Bel Edwards in the Louisiana governor’s race.

Edwards, the only major Democrat in the race, faces Republicans David Vitter, Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne on Oct. 24.

The Advocate reported Thursday that the $1 million ad buy was coming. Now voters can see the RGA’s attempt to link Edwards to President Barack Obama.

In a news release, RGA spokesman Jon Thompson called Edwards an “Obama liberal.”

“While Edwards makes big promises, he ignores the fact that they come with even bigger tax bills for the hardworking people of Louisiana,’ Thompson said. “Louisianans are tired of Obama’s failed leadership and cannot afford an Obama liberal like John Bel Edwards in charge.”

Thompson, in a follow up with The Advocate, confirmed that the RGA has placed the seven-figure ad buy for the two-weeks leading up to the primary election. He said the ad will air on both broadcast and cable.

The move is pretty significant because RGA had previously said it had no plans to enter the Louisiana governor’s race before the Nov. 21 runoff election, and Louisiana was thought to be a safe Republican win this year. Recent polls, however, have had Edwards pulling ahead.

Edwards responded to the ad, linking the RGA to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who previously chaired the group.

“The money behind these attack ads is coming from Bobby Jindal’s organization,” he said. “This is a last ditch effort to maintain his strangle hold on Louisiana and stop the only candidate for governor that will truly expose and change his broken policies.”

He refuted the ad’s claims that he plans to raise taxes.

“The polls show I’m viewed as the most trusted, least partisan, and least Jindal-like candidate,” he said. “The best way to respond to lies is with truth. I’ve been responding to Bobby Jindal’s lies for eight years. And I’ve gotten pretty good at it.”



Three candidates for governor take part in televised debate. David Vitter cites DC work for his absence

Poll: Vitter, Edwards lead governor’s race

Poll: Voters ID which Louisiana governor candidate most polarizing, trustworthy, anti-Jindal, etc

The Rundown: Oct. 9, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: The head of Veterans Affairs as resigned amid a  probe into the state agency; the Republican Governors Association is getting into the Louisiana governor’s race; Steve Scalise’s hopes of becoming the House Majority Leader might be dunzo for now; and more. 

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Days until the 2015 primary election day:  15
Days until the runoff (as needed): 43
Days until the Iowa caucuses: 117

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal? Jindal is campaigning in Iowa this week.

The News

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