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Jay Dardenne mulling job with Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards administration

Republican Lt. Gov.  Jay Dardenne confirmed Wednesday that he has been offered a job  in Democratic  Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards’ administration.

“I’m keeping my options open in that regard,” Dardenne told The Advocate on Wednesday. “I’m considering a possible role in the administration.”

Dardenne would not say which job or jobs are under discussion.

Dardenne lost a governor’s bid then endorsed Edwards in the runoff election over Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Edwards beat Vitter by 12 percent in Nov. 21 balloting.

Dardenne has been routinely mentioned as a possible Commissioner of Administration – the top government management job –  and more recently as the state’s economic development secretary.

The commissioner’s job would be a good fit for Dardenne, who as a state senator served as chairman of budget panels and became familiar with the workings of state government. Prior to becoming lieutenant governor, he also served as secretary of state overseeing elections.

Dardenne said he met briefly with Edwards earlier this week and plans to sit down with him again soon.

“If I do get involved, I want to do it sooner rather than later,” Dardenne said.

Edwards becomes governor on Jan. 11, 2016.

Report: Bill Cassidy, David Vitter approval ratings in mid-40s

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, right, campaigns with then-U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA.), during Cassidy's campaing for U.S. Senate on Friday, December 5, 2014. (Advocate file photo)

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, right, campaigns with then-U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA.), during Cassidy’s campaing for U.S. Senate on Friday, December 5, 2014. (Advocate file photo)

Neither of Louisiana’s U.S. Senators break 50 percent when voters are asked whether they approve of the job they are doing, according to a new analysis.

During a recent survey project that tracked how registered voters in each state feel about their representation in the upper chamber, Morning Consult found 47 percent of Louisiana voters surveyed approve of U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s job performance and 44 percent approve of U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy. Both Vitter and Cassidy are Republicans. Morning Consult surveyed 931 registered voters in Louisiana but notes that the survey was conducted before the end of the Louisiana gubernatorial race that Vitter lost to Democrat John Bel Edwards on Saturday.

About 36 percent of voters disapproved of Vitter, and 32 percent disproved of Cassidy.

The margin of error for both is 3.2 percent.

About 24 percent of voters didn’t know enough to rate Cassidy, who has been in the Senate less than a year after defeating former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu last fall.

In his concession speech Saturday night, Vitter announced that he doesn’t plan to seek re-election to the Senate this fall, which has touched off a wave of speculation about who might seek his seat.

Morning Consult’s analysis found U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont had the highest approval rating, while U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, who is fighting corruption charges, was the least popular.

Read the breakdown of Cassidy’s approval/disapproval.

Read the breakdown of Vitter’s approval/disapproval.

See how they compare to other senators across the country via Morning Consult.

Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, named to George Washington University grad school board

Washington – Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, has been named to the Board of Advisors of George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

Landrieu, a three-term senator,  was defeated for re-election in 2014 by Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge. She has owned a house near the Capitol in Washington for several years and works as a D.C. lobbyist.

Landrieu also was appointed recently to the board of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, or CASA, a child-advocacy group. And she serves as a strategic advisor to the Walton Family Foundation, focusing on education policy.



Landrieu takes job as lobbyist

Landrieu says her goodbyes in Senate

Landrieu loss marks end of era


Jeb Bush announces Louisiana campaign team

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush’s campaign on Tuesday named his Louisiana steering committee and finance chairs.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, state Sen. Conrad Appel of Metairie, state Rep. Nancy Landry of Lafayette and former state Commissioner of Elections Suzie Terrell will work to build Bush’s grassroots infrastructure.

Meanwhile, fundraising efforts will be led by New Orleans developerJoe Canizaro, Lockport shipbuilder Boysie Bollinger and Ruston businessman James Davison.

Political consultants Jason Hebert and Scott Hobbs will be Jeb!2016 state political advisors.

The announcement comes as Bush prepares to compete for delegates March 5.

Louisiana House, Senate see election day shifts

Republicans gained two seats in the Louisiana House and lost a seat in the Senate after runoff elections Saturday.

The 105-member House will have 61 Republicans and 42 Democrats come January’s inauguration. The House will continue to have two non-party affiliated members.

The 39-member Senate will have 25 Republicans and 14 Democrats – one shy of the two-thirds majority needed for tax approvals and proposed constitutional amendments.

Women gained four seats in the House. In the new term 17 seats will be held by women. In the Senate, there will be four women – the same as today.

While no Senate incumbent lost, pollster John Couvillon noted in a Press Club of Baton Rouge appearance Monday  that six incumbent House members lost, two of whom were Democrats.

Couvillon speculated that the budget crisis and votes on taxes hurt some incumbents, including Baton Rouge Republican Darryl Ourso who was elected during a special election and served just a few months before being ousted.


Lt. Gov.-elect Nungesser: “No pink slips”

Lt. Gov.-elect Billy Nungesser  visited his soon-to-be state offices Monday, assuring employees they would still have a job after his January inauguration if they wanted it.

“I’m not going in there and cleaning house. That doesn’t benefit anybody,” Nungesser said. “I’m not giving anybody a pink slip. I’m going to call every one of them personally and tell them I have no intention of getting rid of anybody.”

Nungesser said he may bring a couple of people who worked in his campaign to Baton  Rouge, but “I’m not in a hurry to make any decisions.”

He said some employees are retiring.

Republican Nungesser, a two-term Plaquemines Parish president, won Saturday’s runoff election over Democratic Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden.

On Monday, Nungesser met with out-going Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne as he began transition planning.  He said he will set aside three days soon  to return to Baton Rouge for discussions  with officials about  the top three things the office should  concentrate its energies on.

“There’s not a lot of good news in the budget cuts (to the Office of Culture, Recreation and Tourism). They have clearly impacted tourism,” Nungesser said. “I’ve still got to put a plan together to restore some of these cuts. We can’t allow them.”

Nungesser said he won’t accept the  24-7 State Police security detail to which he is entitled as the No. 2 statewide official.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Nungesser said. “Let them go protect the people of Louisiana. If there’s a special event I’ll request one. I figure that’s dollars better spent.”

Nungesser said he’ll take a break next week fulfilling a promise he made to his wife Cher to go on vacation after the election. The couple will go on a Hawaiian cruise.

LABI president: Vitter rejection a “character” vote

Voters spoke loudly that “character matters” when they rejected U.S. Sen. David Vitter as governor, the president of the state’s major business lobby said Monday.

“The race began as a referendum on his well-chronicled personal issues and polarizing approach and he was never able to change that topic,” Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president Stephen Waguespack wrote. “The voters were dialed in on those issues and did not budge.”

LABI’s political action committees endorsed Vitter and contributed to his campaign.

Waguespack noted Republican Vitter’s “staggering” defeat Saturday to Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.

“The voters clearly make character a top priority,” Waguespack wrote in his LABI column. “The electorate wants to like the individual as much as they like the positions taken…Voters are looking for leaders who are sincere and trustworthy.”

Waguespack said Vitter’s defeat should not be seen as an indication that Louisiana is going more liberal in its politics.

“Louisianan’s elected the more conservative candidates in the other two statewide races, providing clear evidence that the voters have not drifted more liberal….but they have clearly drifted away from Sen. Vitter. So much so, he announced Saturday night that he will not seek re-election next year to his Senate seat, a wise and statesman-like decision.”




Republican U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, of Lafayette, and John Fleming, of Minden, announce they will announce plans for 2016 Senate race “soon”

Washington – U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, of Lafayette, and John Fleming, of Minden, announced Monday that they will make  announcements soon about their plans for the U.S. Senate election in 2016.

Boustany, first elected to Congress in 2004, and Fleming, first elected in 2008,  said earlier they intended to run for the Senate if incumbent Republican David Vitter, of Metairie, was not seeking re-election. Vitter lost the governor’s race Saturday and said he would not try for a third term in the Senate next year.

Boustany, 59, is a cardiovascular surgeon. Fleming, 64, is a family physician.

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National Democrats respond to Louisiana’s election of John Bel Edwards

State Rep. John Bel Edwards’ big win in the Louisiana governor’s race Saturday drew national headlines and had Democrats across the country responding.

Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, praised Edwards’ background.

“John Bel’s experience as a soldier, veteran, small business owner and state legislator will serve Louisianans well, and his platform — including getting runaway higher-education costs under control and expanding Medicaid for thousands of families — is the right one for Louisiana’s future. I look forward to seeing what he accomplishes for the people of Louisiana,” she said in a statement.

The Democratic Governors Association, meanwhile, released statements from its chairman Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and executive director Elisabeth Pearson .

Said Bullock: “Tonight’s win is a clear sign that voters trust John Bel Edwards’s character and his focus on supporting job creation, investing in schools, and passing a fiscally responsible budget. The Louisiana results today prove that strong Democratic gubernatorial candidates can win races anywhere in the country – in red, purple or blue states.”

Pearson noted that the DGA had strategically focused on the race as a possible win.

“John Bel Edwards is a strong leader who fights for what he believes in,” she said. “When pundits said the race was ‘impossible’ and a ‘coronation,’ John Bel kept fighting every day.


Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, to join board of national child advocacy organization

Washington — Former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, has been picked to join the board of a leading national child advocacy organization.

The organization — the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, or CASA — functions as a network of nearly 1,000 state and community programs across the country that recruit volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected children in court cases and communities.

An adoptive parent of two, Landrieu was the first recipient of the National CASA Board of Trustees President’s Award, in 2014. A three-term senator, she co-founded the the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Landrieu was defeated for re-election in 2014 by Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge. She has owned a house near the Capitol in Washington for several years and works as a D.C. lobbyist.



Landrieu takes job as lobbyist

Landrieu says her goodbyes in Senate

Landrieu loss marks end of era