All posts by Mark Ballard

Numbers of African-American voters increase

The Louisiana Secretary of State hasn’t finished with the tallies but the Democratic Party has and announced Saturday that voter registration numbers for African Americans increased.

Democratic calculations show that 918,929 blacks have registered and can vote in the Nov. 4 election. That’s up from 912,764 in October. There were 917,576 African Americans were registered to vote in the November 2012 presidential election, when presumably voters show more interest in the electoral politics.

White voters increased their registration from 1,869,611 in October to 1,874,877 for the election, according to the Democrats. But their numbers dropped from 1,908,859 for the 2012 presidential election.

Actually, the numbers of voters who registered as Democrats or Republicans dropped since 2012, but rose modestly from October to November, if the Democrats calculations of the Secretary of State’s records are correct. But voters registering without major party affiliation increased from 718,157 to about 747,000.

Bill Clinton to visit Baton Rouge

Former President Bill Clinton will join U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu Monday in Baton Rouge  to rally support  a day before early voting begins in Louisiana.

The event begins at 2 p.m. Monday at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, 201 Lafayette Street, Baton Rouge. The event is open to the public with an RSVP at

Early voting begins Tuesday and runs through October 28.

This is President Clinton’s second visit to Louisiana for Senator Landrieu during this election cycle.

Family Research Council backs two Republicans in congressional campaigns

State Rep. Lenar Whitney, whose diatribe against global warming caught international attention, and Zach Dasher, the “Duck Dynasty” relative, were endorsed Wednesday in their respective congressional races by the Family Research Council’s political action arm.

The conservative group lobbies state and federal government on socially conservative policies it calls traditional family values. The Family Research Council was founded by Christian evangelical theologian James Dobson,  and is headed by Tony Perkins, a former Baton Rouge state representative.

In backing Houma’s Whitney, one of Louisiana’s representatives to the Republican National Committee, Perkins wrote, “We are looking for a leader who will unabashedly challenge the Left’s notion that government knows best. We are looking for a leader who will challenge the moderates within the Republican Party who are content to babysit America’s decline.”

She is one of 11 candidates in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District. Early on Perkins was widely discussed as a possible candidate for the 6th district race.

Perkins hosted a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. on her behalf.

Dasher is the nephew of Duck Commander Phil Robertson, who has been a guest on Perkins’ national radio program, and is the head of the family featured in a reality television program.

“The vast majority of families in Louisiana are looking for leaders of integrity who will go to Washington and challenge the Left’s notion that government knows best,” Perkins wrote. “Having watched him during this campaign, I feel confident that he is the conservative candidate in this race who can not only win this race, but provide the type of leadership needed in WashingtonD.C.”

The Family Research Council opposes abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem-cell research among its conservative social positions.


Rush Limbaugh calls Bill Cassidy a “virtual candidate”

National radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh read from a Time Magazine blog that blasted the leading Republican candidate challenging the reelection of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Reading to his national audience, Limbaugh read the entry that called U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, a “virtual candidate,” because he has been so unavailable publicly.

Limbaugh said, the blogger, Joe Klein, was a liberal, then read :  ”In Louisiana, where Senator Landrieu’s facing a virtual candidate Bill Cassidy – local reporters claim they couldn’t find the guy, and I couldn’t either – the incumbent’s facing a real hurdle. The hurdle’s Obama, about whom the crazy rumors are still thick and the ads are constant. Each of the Democrat incumbents running in the Southern states I visited has voted with the president more than 90 percent of the time, and that’s one thing every voters who enter the polls will know.”

Rob Maness, who is backed by tea parties, sent out emails quoting Limbaugh without mentioning that the radio talk show host was quoting from a blog.


Gov Bobby Jindal’s son bets Florida governor on football game

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s son, Shaan, bet Florida Gov. Rick Scott on the outcome of this Saturday’s football game between LSU and the University of Florida, the governor tweeted Thursday afternoon.
If LSU wins, Scott will send a fishing pole. If Florida wins. Shaan will send Scott a “Duck Dynasty” duck call.

Cassie Felder to withdraw and support Dan Claitor

Cassie Felder, a Republican lawyer from Baton Rouge, will announce Thursday morning that she is withdrawing from the race to replace Congressman Bill Cassidy in Louisiana’s 6th congressional district, her campaign confirmed Wednesday.

Felder will endorse state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, in his bid. Eleven candidates remain in the Nov. 4 election.

U.S. education secretary plans New Orleans speech

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who has ignited controversy in Louisiana previously, will be the featured speaker at a meeting in New Orleans on Dec. 11.
Duncan will appear at the annual luncheon of the Bureau of Governmental Research, a nonprofit group that analyzes public policies.
In 2010 Duncan said Hurricane Katrina was the “best thing” that happened to the education system in New Orleans.
He said New Orleans public schools were a “disaster” and that it took the 2005 hurricane to wake up the community.
The comment sparked criticism from state education leaders, and ABC News reported that Duncan later apologized for his Katrina comments.
Earlier this year Duncan accused Gov. Bobby Jindal of doing a turnaround on Common Core — former supporter and current opponent — because of politics.
Jindal’s office countered that Louisiana would not be “bullied” by the federal government, a reference to federal assistance in promoting the new standards in reading, writing and math.
Duncan has been education secretary since 2009.
Individual tickets for the event are $100.
For more information contact Selva Riemann, Office Manager, 504-525-4152, Ext. 101 or

Garret Graves endorsed by BIPAC

The influential Washington, D.C.-based Business-Industry Political Action Committee endorsed Garret Graves for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District, the campaign announced Monday.

“Graves’ background in the private and public sectors make him an invaluable addition to Congress,” said BIPAC’s Sr. Vice President of Political Affairs, Bo Harmon. “Graves understands the role of government and what businesses need to grow and create jobs, creating prosperity for all Americans.”

BIPAC’s action fund will make a contribution to Graves’ Congressional campaign as well as encourage support from its membership on his behalf. Additionally, BIPAC will provide local employers the tools to directly engage employees across the 6th District.

Edwards focuses on coastal restoration

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards said Tuesday that if he wins a place in Congress, he would focus on pressing the federal government to pay for the restoration of the state’s coastal areas.

The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources estimates the state is losing 25 to 35 square miles of wetlands per year.

“In the last six years, the present administration has spent millions of dollars building levees around new Orleans, which is a good thing,” Edwards said in a video released via his campaign website, “but they have neglected the valuable marshes. As congressman I am going to dedicate my time and effort to making the federal government, which is part of this responsibility, pay for restoration of the marshes, and our coastal area.”

Edwards, who is running as a Democrat is one of a dozen candidates running for the overwhelmingly Republican 6th Congressional District.

Clark suspends candidacy, backs Claitor

Norm Clark, a Republican candidate in the 6th congressional district race, suspended his campaign and backed the candidacy of state Sen. Dan Claitor, according to a Tuesday press release.
“Having had the opportunity to meet every candidate in this race,” Clark said in the prepared statement released by Claitor’s campaign. “It has become clear that there is only one front runner worth supporting, and that is Senator Dan Claitor. I have been impressed not only with his stances on the issues, but also on his genuineness and heart to serve the people.”
Clark is a U.S. Navy veteran, retired law enforcement officer and American Legion post commander from Denham Springs. He ran on the slogan: “We need a new norm in Washington.”
Though he is suspending his campaign, Clark’s name will remain on the Nov. 4th ballot.
“While other candidates are running on their last name or money from kick-backs,” Clark said, “Sen. Claitor is a principled conservative leader with a record of standing tall for the people of Louisiana. I hereby suspend my campaign and give my full support to the Claitor for Congress campaign.”
The crowded race is to fill the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge. Cassidy is running for U.S. Senate.
Other Republicans in the race are Robert Bell, a retired U.S. Navy Reserve officer and Tea Party of Louisiana columnist who calls himself Captain Bob, business owner Paul Dietzel II, tax lawyer Cassie Felder, former Jindal adviser Garret Graves, business owner Craig McCulloch, educator Charles “Trey” Thomas, and state Rep. Lenar Whitney,
The Democratic candidates are former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards, Dean Lieberman, a LaPlace real estate broker, and Peter Williams, of Lettsworth.
Also seeking the seat is Libertarian lawyer Rufus Craig.
A runoff, if needed, will be Dec. 6.
Louisiana legislators changed the district lines in 2011, removing many of the minority neighborhoods around Baton Rouge. It now stretches from southeast Baton Rouge down to pick up some of the far western New Orleans suburbs, along with parts of Thibodeaux and Houma.
Seventy-four percent of the 486,421 registered voters in the 6th district are white and a third is registered as Republicans, according to the Secretary of State.