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More Clutter for Cassidy


The Christmas stocking of Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, who wants to unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, was filled with another lump of coal.

It is bad enough that he has had to endure the aggravation of another Republican who entered the race – retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness.

To the dismay of Cassidy, Maness, who is from Madisonville, has scooped up the endorsements of several conservative and Tea Party groups.

Now comes the revelation that another GOP candidate is going to enter the U.S. Senate battle. State Rep. Paul Hollis of Covington filed candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission in mid-December and is expected to officially announce soon.

So efforts by GOP leaders at the national and state level to give Cassidy a clear path for his battle with Landrieu have, so far, been a failure.

Hollis has politicos befuddled. While he is the son of the late Metairie state Sen. Ken Hollis, he has been in elected office only three years and has no statewide name recognition.

Declaring that the two front-runners (Landrieu and Cassidy) are just “your normal Washington crowd,” Hollis has already deposited $250,000 of his own money into his war chest. But if he wants to be a viable candidate, he will have to have some zeros to that amount.

End of the year reports have not been posted, but at the end of October Landrieu had nearly $6 million cash on hand and Cassidy had about $3.5 million.

Where Hollis fits in philosophically is another question analysts are trying to answer. He is more conservative than Cassidy, but not as conservative as Maness. Not much leeway there to carve out a strategy.

And he is a fresh face compared to Landrieu and Cassidy, but so is Maness. Qualifying is not until August 20-22. A lot can happen between now and then.


Lucky Landrieu?

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Christmas stocking had a nice stocking stuffer in it.

lou BurnettNo one can deny that Louisiana’s senior U.S. senator wields a lot of power after three six-year terms in the Upper Chamber. Seniority is the name of the game in the U.S. Senate.

A game of political dominoes seems on the horizon, which could have Landrieu wind up as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It’s been more than 20 years since Louisiana has had that kind of clout when former Democratic U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston – whom Landrieu replaced – held that post.

The dominoes began falling when President Barack Obama tapped U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, to be the ambassador to China. His confirmation seems assured.

Baucus, who had announced his retirement at the end of his current term in January 2015, would vacate his postion early, therefore, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to become an ambassador.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, the current chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will likely move over to take over the Finance Committee because U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, who is next in line, is retiring.

If those dominoes fall into place, Landrieu is said to be the choice of the Senate Democratic Leadership to get the chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources. The ranking Democrat on the committee, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, is retiring.

Getting that position would coincide nicely with Landrieu’s run for re-election to a fourth term. Political analysts seem to agree that chairing that committee, which is of vital importance to oil and gas interests in the Pelican State, would give her campaign a huge boost.

So much so, some analysts say, that Landrieu having that kind of powerful position could help her overcome her vote for Obamacare and bring more money into her campaign, even from Republican oil interests in the state.


EWE for Congress?

Former four-term Gov. Edwin Edwards is back in the news once again. The political blog, Louisiana Hayride, said recently that an informed source reported that Edwards was giving consideration to running for the U.S. House seat – the 6th Congressional District – being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.

hat revelation set off a political firestorm from Louisiana to Washington, D.C. Edwards represented the 7th Congressional District from 1965 to 1972 before being elected governor for the first time.

While Edwards, 86, is being coy about his intentions, he has made no bones about his desire to get back into Louisiana politics.

If he decides to run, Edwards would be the lone Democrat in the race for the Congressional seat, which is considered deeply conservative. At least six Republicans have already announced their candidacy or expressed an interest in the seat.

Edwards, who served much of a 10-year prison sentence for bribery, racketeering, and extortion, was released in 2011.

Interestingly, he cannot run for a statewide office for 15 years without receiving a pardon, however, he can still run and be elected to Congress without a pardon.

Recently Edwards and his wife, Trina, were featured on a TV reality show “The Governor’s Wife.” The show was quickly canceled because of poor viewership.

Most political analysts do not believe Edwards will run, but they say they have learned never to underestimate the “Silver Fox,” as he is affectionately referred to by his supporters.


Speaking of the governor’s race…

A new statewide survey on the governor’s race, conducted between November 12-14 and leaked to LaPolitics.com had some interesting results. It was conducted among 800 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

The poll was conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

The poll included a question about a three-man race, with party identification provided. The results were Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter 35 percent, Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu 29 percent, and Dardenne 22 percent.

It also polled a large primary field of announced and potential candidates for governor in 2015. The results were:

Vitter – 25 percent

Landrieu – 20 percent.

Dardenne – 12 percent.

State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) – 9 percent.

Former Congressman and Veterans Affairs Secretary Rodney Alexander (R) – 4 percent.

Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) – 2 percent.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite (D) – 2 percent.

Morning Advocate Publisher John Georges (D) – 2 percent.

Businessman Jim Bernhard (D) – 1 percent.

State Sen. Gerald Long of Winnfield (R) – 1 percent.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand (R) – 1 percent.

An independent poll conducted by Southern Media Opinion and Research between November 12-14 had these results: Vitter 30 percent, Kennedy 19 percent, Dardenne 18 percent, Edwards 8 percentm and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle 2 percent. Mitch Landrieu was not included in that poll. A reminder: The governor’s race is not until 2015.


Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.

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