Putting a Rumor to Rest
The bottom line: Incumbent Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker is definitely running for re-election in April 2017.
The political rumor mill has been churning in Bossier City with some politicos claiming that Walker would not seek a third term.
Walker was emphatic, telling the Fax-Net, “I am definitely running, I am in good health, I feel great and we have done a great job.” In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is what Walker was saying.
Rumors began flying when longtime Police Juror Rick Avery started telling friends and supporters that he was going to run for mayor. More than one source confirmed that Avery is saying he is going to run whether Walker runs or not.
If all that comes to pass, it will make for a very interesting mayor’s race, one the likes of which Bossier City has not seen in quite some time. Note: Avery did not respond to Fax-Net’s e-mail and phone requests by press deadline.
When it comes to the U.S. Senate race, which is scheduled for November 8, Louisiana Democrats are feeling somewhat optimistic. After all, they just elected John Bel Edwards governor in a blood-red Republican state. The question is, can lightning strike twice? Most analysts agree it was a perfect storm that allowed the Democratic candidate to win the governorship. A no-holds barred battle between three GOP candidates to earn a playoff spot turned ugly.
The eventual winner, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, emerged battered and bruised to take on Edwards. But in the process, he alienated supporters of fellow Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle.
So the Democratic faithful are wondering if a similar scenario could occur in the U.S. Senate race. There are already four viable declared candidates on the GOP side – U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming, state Treasurer John Kennedy, and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness.
But here is the dilemma political analysts see for the Democrats. To have a creditable shot at winning, only one Democrat needs to be on the ballot. In other words, the Democratic candidate needs a clear field to ensure a runoff spot.
Most Democrats are casting an eye at popular Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell of Elm Grove. They point out that he represents 24 parishes across north Louisiana after serving 26 years in the Louisiana Senate. He is a seasoned and shrewd veteran of political wars, having run three times for a U.S. House seat in 1980, 1988, and 1990. Add to that the fact that Campbell is a populist, which could be a good thing if what’s happening in national politics is any indication.
Would Campbell run? He has publicly said he is very interested in the U.S. Senate race and is giving it careful consideration. However, Campbell is a smart politician, and it is unlikely he would run if there is not a clear field for the Democratic candidate.
Democratic leaders may be a day late and a dollar short when it comes to the game plan of having only one candidate on the ballot. Already, Carolyn Fayard, a wealthy New Orleans political novice, who has never held an elected office, has announced she is going to run. Her only experience was running for lieutenant governor in 2010. She made the runoff in a field of eight candidates, but lost to Republican Jay Dardenne by a 57-43% margin in the runoff. To make things worse for clear-field Democratic advocates, a couple of other lesser-known Democrats are said to be interested in running. Should two or more Democrats wind up on the ballot, it is very likely that two Republicans would be in the runoff. Can Democratic leaders handle such a situation?
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.