Governor Edwards endorses Foster Campbell
At Saturday’s meeting of the Democratic State Central Committee in Baton Rouge, Governor John Bel Edwards told Committee members and party leaders he is backing Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell in this year’s United States Senate election.
Only one year ago, the State Central Committee endorsed Edwards in his bid for Governor. Edwards told party leaders that it is important for them to select a candidate who can win when they endorse.
“This meeting a year ago really consolidated the state for me in terms of the Democratic Party. It allowed me to work, going forward, to expand that solid base,” Edwards noted.
He added, “You obviously have to consider which of our candidates has the best chance of winning.”
Edwards said he felt he had an obligation to be honest with the DSCC about his intentions. “I have decided that I am going to support Foster Campbell in this race for United States Senate. He has proved he can win. I have watched Foster fight on behalf of ordinary working men and women for years.”
Campbell reacted positively to the Governor’s statements. “Like Governor Edwards, I’ve worked hard to earn the trust and support of all the people of Louisiana. I’m honored to have the Governor’s support. It’s monumental.”
Campbell, who is from Elm Grove in Bossier Parish, served 26 years in the Louisiana Senate before being elected the Public Service Commissioner for District 5, taking office in 2003. District 5 is comprised of 24 parishes across north Louisiana from the Texas to the Mississippi border.
On Nov. 4, 2014, he won a third term on the LPSC by scoring a landslide victory over Republican Keith Gates of Winnfield, garnering 62% the vote and carrying all but two parishes.
Whether the Edwards endorsement for Campbell creates discord among Democrats remains to be seen. The road to the runoff for Campbell will not be an easy one because two other Democrats will be on the ballot along with at least five viable Republican candidates.
Attorney Caroline Fayard, a Democrat from New Orleans, could prove to be a major obstacle for Campbell if she is able to pull a large vote from that area of the state.
She comes from a wealthy family, and her parents, Calvin and Frances Fayard, are generous contributors to the Democratic Party. Earlier this year, they hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She ran for lieutenant governor in a special election in 2010, made the runoff, but lost to Republican Jay Dardenne.
Further complicating the Democratic side of the race is another candidate, who is a political novice. Josh Pellerin is a Lafayette-area businessman and the founder and owner of the Pellerin Energy Group. He will likely draw support from Democrats in his home area.
Campbell’s hope to make the runoff lies with the fact that there will be five GOP candidates splitting the Republican vote.
They are 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 Rob Maness of Madisonville.
When all is said and done, the 2016 U.S. Senate race is shaping up to be very interesting and expensive.
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.