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Ads featuring Elbert Guillory to air in N.C., Ga., Ark.

State Sen. Elbert Guillory is taking his message — that African Americans should not support Democrats — to the airwaves in North Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas in a push to support GOP candidates in U.S. Senate races there.

Guillory, Louisiana’s only black Republican state senator, has already targeted U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with a similar ad in Louisiana, for which he recently earned a lengthy BloombergPolitics profile. Landrieu, a Democrat, is locked in a tight re-election battle that could ultimately determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

According to the Free At Last PAC, which created the ad, the Landrieu spot will air during tonight’s New Orleans Saints game in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

“The Democrats have created the illusion that they are the salvation of the black community. But who among us have they saved?” he says in the North Carolina ad directed at Sen. Kay Hagan.

“Like always, black folk in Georgia are being herded to the polls by over-seers promising us salvation, but who among us have they saved?” he says in the Georgia ad against Democatic candidate Michelle Nunn.

“Black people are just being used to perpetuate a political empire,” he says in the ad directed at Arkanas Sen. Mark Pryor, which also notes Pryor’s father previously held the seat.

The Washington Post recently slammed Guillory’s attempts to woo black voters for Republican candidates.

” It’s a political strategy that is utterly counterproductive in actually attracting black voters,” the publication wrote, claiming Guillory’s ads repeat unflattering stereotypes about African Americans.

UNO honoring longtime state legislator Ted Hickey

The University of New Orleans plans to name its University Center Ballroom in honor of former state Sen. Ted Hickey, who championed the establishment of UNO and the university’s eventual renaming under the LSU System in the 1970s.

“As both the president and an alumnus of the University of New Orleans, I am indebted to Sen. Ted Hickey and his longtime advocacy of the university,” UNO President Peter J. Fos said in a news release. “I hope that by honoring him in this way, more members of the UNO community will appreciate what he meant to the university.”

A Dec. 18 ceremony has been set to mark the dedication.

Hickey, who died in 1993, served in the Louisiana Legislature for nearly 30 years, representing the district in which UNO is located. He helped draft the legislation that led to the university’s creation.

“He was very proud of the work he did throughout the years on behalf of UNO,” Hickey’s grandson, George Kadair III, said in the university release.

Replay: Analysis from the Wednesday’s U.S. Senate debate featuring Mary Landrieu, Bill Cassidy, Rob Maness

Enter the Cover It Live module to recap Wednesday night’s debate (it might take a moment to load).

Note for mobile/tablet users: If you’re having trouble viewing the chat module, click here.

National Review: Bobby Jindal’s ‘beefing up’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has gained 13 pounds as he mulls a run for president, according to the National Review.

The conservative news outlet cites “a source close to” Jindal in its report on his weight gain.

Jindal, who weighs 156 pounds and is 5-foot-11, according to information provided to The Advocate, is expected to announce early next year whether he will seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Jindal’s slight frame already has drawn attention as he amps up a potential run for president. Jindal, himself, has joked that he was “too skinny” to run for president.

The National Review post reports him as the ”only potential 2016 contender … packing on the pounds” while others look to lose weight.

This week, Jindal’s traveling to Kansas, Florida and Kentucky, to campaign for Republican candidates. He’s made several trips in recent months to states that play an important part in the presidential nomination process, including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He also has made high profile speeches in Washington, D.C., to unveil national policy proposals through is political action committee America Next.

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.

Louisiana ranked 14th most politically engaged state

Louisiana’s the 14th most politically engaged state in the nation, based on a new analysis from WalletHub.com.

The study looked at various measures of voter participation, campaign contributions and civic education.

Massachusetts ranked highest, while West Virginia ranked the least politically active.

In general, blue states were found to be more engaged than red states, notes the Washington Post’s GovBeat blog.

Mississippi was the only state in the South more ranked more politically active than Louisiana.

Check out the full rankings and methodology from WalletHub here

F. King Alexander: Amendments could impact LSU, higher ed budgets

LSU isn’t taking an official position on the 14 constitutional amendments on the Nov. 4 ballot, but President and Chancellor F. King Alexander has raised concern over the potential impact they could have on higher education in the state.

“With any new dedications and propositions, you pretty much tie up the budget,” he said during a recent LSU Board of Supervisors meeting.

Currently, only about 40 percent of the state’s budget is unrestricted, and that’s where most of the state’s funding for higher education comes from, he said.

The more money that is set aside for other areas, the more vulnerable colleges and universities are left, he said.

“Our legislators hands will be tied by numerous, numerous constitutional dedications,” Alexander said. “It does concern us.”

State lawmakers agreed during the past two sessions to put the 14 proposed amendments to a vote of the public.

The first two on the ballot — Amendments 1 and 2 — generally have been generating the most interest.

Each would set up a special fund in the constitution to create funding streams for health care segments — Amendment 1 for nursing homes, developmental centers and pharmacists and Amendment 2 for hospitals.

Click here to read The Advocate’s recent story on the 14 proposals.

Read additional details from the non-partisan Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana here and the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office’s analysis here.

Bobby Jindal to rally Florida Republicans week before election

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be in Florida this week for the Sarasota GOP’s Restore America Rally, which is being billed as a chance to “energize and empower voters to get excited about the changes we can make at the polls” just one week before election day.

Jindal, who is mulling a run for president in 2016, has spent the last several weeks making trips to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida — important states for a prospective presidential run — to drum up support for GOP candidates this year (though he has been conspicuously absent in Louisiana’s own 2014 elections, including the tight  U.S. Senate race that’s drawn national attention because of its potential impact on the chamber’s partisan rule).

Jindal’s being billed as the headliner of the Sarasota event Tuesday.

Also speaking: Faith and Freedom Coalition founder and former Bush/Cheney adviser Ralph Reed; conservative talk radio host Dennis Prager; and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, among others.

According to the event invitation, general admission is free, but attendees can pay $50 for preferential seating or $100 for a special VIP meet-and-greet reception before the speeches, which will include a photo-op with Jindal.

According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Sarasota Republican Party is slated next month to give its “Conservative of the Year Award” to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another Republican eying a 2016 run. Tickets for the Perry event will cost attendees $75 to $500.

The AP reports that Jindal will be in Kentucky for a similar GOP rally on Wednesday.

Fact Check: Mail piece claims Bill Cassidy wanted to turn two HBCUs into prisons

An anti-Bill Cassidy mailer that’s being circulated by the Patriot Majority PAC says Cassidy once “suggested turning Southern University in New Orleans and Grambling State University into prisons.” (Click here to see the mailer)

Cassidy, a Republican Congressman from Baton Rouge, is locked in a tight U.S. Senate race with incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu.

The racially-charged implication in the PAC’s mailer is clear: Cassidy wanted to shutter two of the state’s historically black universities and convert them to prisons.

But, like so often happens in political ads and mail pieces, that’s not really the full story.

Cassidy did advocate shutting down some of Louisiana’s higher education institutions — in and of itself a controversial idea that repeatedly has been proposed but failed to gain much traction here. But the letter selects and strings together only pieces of what Cassidy was advocating.

The Patriot Majority mailer cites a Letter to the Editor that Cassidy wrote to the State-Times in 1991. The State-Times was The Advocate’s sister publication that stopped printing in the 1990s. Its articles are archived behind a paywall, so this blog post is intended to bring the full letter forward for context.

In his Letter to the Editor, Cassidy argued that Louisiana had too many colleges and universities that were stretching state resources.

“Lets close some of them,” he wrote. “Spare university buildings can be used for junior colleges, minimum security prisons, research facilities for private industry, turned over to local school boards or anything else that will benefit the state.” cassidymailer

He specifically mentions closing SUNO because of other higher education options in the New Orleans area. Grambling is listed among five schools in the northwest part of the state, of which Cassidy says two could be shuttered (Note: he doesn’t specifically identify Grambling as one that should definitely be closed).

Cassidy’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to The Advocate’s request for comment on the letter’s contents or the characterization of it in the PAC’s mailer. [NOTE: SEE UPDATE BELOW WITH COMMENT]

A search of The Advocate archives shows one other Letter to the Editor from Cassidy, which was co-signed by his wife. In it, they stressed the need for a mandatory helmet law for motorcycles. Cassidy and his wife are both doctors.

Another letter signed only by Laura Cassidy in 1990 took a position against abortion and efforts of the “pro-choice movement.”

Here is the full  text of Cassidy’s Letter to the Editor that is cited in the recent mailer (saving you that fee to search the archives):

Closing redundant schools a good idea

Publication Date: May 29, 1991  Page: 9-B  Section: NEWS

State-Times: Higher education is repeatedly emphasized as key to Louisiana’s economic growth. Nonetheless, due to other pressing needs, our universities are funded 30-40 percent less than the regional average. Let’s try something else: Lets close some of them. Do we really need LSU-Eunice and LSU-Alexandria _ not to mention making one of them a four-year institution? Does northwest Louisiana require Grambling, Louisiana Tech, Northwest Louisiana University, LSU-Shreveport and Southern University-Shreveport? Make two of them junior colleges and close two more. Why stop there? Do away with Southern University-New Orleans. There are two other, predominately black, New Orleans universities, and another, much more respected state university. The money saved from these and other closures could improve the remaining schools. Without an increase in overall state expenditures,their funding could be raised towards levels needed for first-class institutions. Spare university buildings can be used for junior colleges, minimum security prisons, research facilities for private industry, turned over to local school boards or anything else that will benefit the state. By closing redundant educational facilities, Louisiana can have better universities without more taxes or state debt. The alternatives are clear. William M. Cassidy 3115 Dalrymple Drive Baton Rouge, LA 70802

UPDATE: Here’s what Cassidy says about the letter today, “If you read the letter, it’s about desiring to improve academic institutions without raising taxes or increasing the debt. Some may disagree, and it was written 25 years ago, but no one disagrees with the need for bold educational reforms.”