All posts by Mark Ballard

Bill Cassidy says he doesn’t believe GOP pressuring Maness

U.S. Senate candidate Bill Cassidy said Monday he doesn’t think the Republican Party is pressuring Rob Maness and his supporters.

“I would suspect not, but that’s what people say when they’re behind and want some publicity,” Cassidy said as he went to vote early at the Secretary of State’s ArchivesBuilding in Baton Rouge.

Tony Perkins, who heads the conservative Christian group Family Research Council, say party leaders have been pushing him hard to not endorse Maness.

Maness claimed that state party officials have tried to coerce GOP officials and candidates not to back his candidacy and favor Cassidy.

“There is great pressure to do the unprincipled thing and get out of this race, great pressure,” Maness told supporters Saturday.

Cassidy would not say who he voted for in the 6th congressional district race to replace him. But said he backed a constitutional amendment that would give a bonus homestead exemption to veterans rated with 100 percent unemployability.

Zach Dasher backs Bibles and guns

Holding an automatic rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other, Duck Commander Phil Robertson said on a commercial released Monday that he supported his nephew Zach Dasher, R-Calhoun, for the 5th Congressional District.

“Bibles and guns brought us here. And Bibles and guns will keep us here.  Zach Dasher believes in both. That’s why voting for him,” Robertson said.

Robertson cut another commercial for Dasher saying “He knows his Bible. We vetted him.”

He is the patriarch of a family featured in the cable reality television series, “Duck Dynasty.”  Robertson has attracted attention for his religious views and for telling a national magazine that African-Americans were happier before the Civil Rights era and that homosexuality was akin to bestiality.

Dasher is running a campaign based on taking his conservative Christian values to Washington. He is challenging U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, who similarly ran as a conservative Christian with family values and Robertson’s support. McAllister, however, was caught by security cameras kissing a married aide.

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.