Opinion: Lou Gehrig Burnett – First ad…first punch

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First ad…first punch

Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming, who has a hefty campaign fund and deep pockets, is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. David Vitter.  The election is this November.

It is not surprising, therefore,  that Fleming was the first Senate candidate to appear on FOX television stations statewide with a paid political ad. But as soon as it hit the airways, he got some immediate blow-back.

Fleming’s ad, entitled “Not Easy,” was basically  a  “feel- good”  bio piece to introduce him to voters statewide and make them aware of his conservative credentials.
In the ad, it said,  “He’s even taken on his own party, leading the way in removing John Boehner as Speaker of the House.  It wasn’t easy.  It was just the right thing to do.”

Well, that statement caught the eagle eyes of  the political gurus with the campaign of retired Air Force Colonel  Rob Maness, who is also running for the U.S. Senate seat. Andrew Surabian, campaign manager for Maness, was quick to throw the first punch among the GOP candidates, which could be a sign of things to come, akin to the recent governor’s race.

He said, “It’s disappointing that John Fleming’s first TV ad contains a complete falsehood.  While most members of the House Freedom Caucus actually voted against John Boehner for Speaker, John Fleming voted for Boehner three times.” Surabian went on to say, “Fleming says he represents change, but he’s really just another Washington insider who will say or do anything to climb the political ladder.”

Adding fuel to the fire, he challenged Fleming to publicly oppose Sen. Mitch McConnell for Republican Leader, something which Maness has already done. Enclosed with the Maness press release were links to three videos of Fleming’s votes for Boehner for Speaker of the House. This may be the first, but it won’t be the last time these two tangle during the campaign because both are hoping to woo Tea Party voters and those on the conservative right.

The candidates just keep on coming

As unpopular as it seems to be in elected office these days, the candidates just keep on coming for the three political plums that are ripe for the picking in the Bayou State. They are the U.S. Senate seat and the 3rd and 4th District U.S. House seats. While several potential candidates are looming on the political horizon, it will not be known who will actually walk the walk until the end of qualifying, scheduled for July 20-22, 2016.

U.S. Senate race

Already, there are 10 people saying they are going  to run for the U.S. Senate seat, which is open since incumbent Republican U.S. Sen David Vitter is not seeking a third six-year term.

Announced Republicans  include U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette, former U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao of New Orleans, U.S. Rep. John Fleming of Minden, state Treasurer John Kennedy of Baton Rouge, and retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness of Baton Rouge.

Democrats who have announced include Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell of Elm Grove, attorney Derrick Edwards.of Baton Rouge, attorney Caroline Fayard of New Orleans, and businessman Josh Pellerin of Lafayette.

The lone independent (which is No Party in Louisiana) is former state Sen. and former head of the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commission Troy Hebert of Jeanerette.

4th District U.S. House Race

Five Republicans have announced their intentions to make the race.  They are Dr. Trey Baucum of Shreveport,, former state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, Shreveport City Councilman Oliver Jenkins, attorney Rick John of Shreveport, and state Rep. Mike Johnson of Bossier City.
Former City Judge and District Attorney candidate LaLeshia Walker Alford has told the Fax-Net she is giving serious consideration to running.  She is an African-American Democrat,

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