Tune in to the first televised event of the 2015 Governor's Race tonight at 8 p.m. Watch live by clicking here:
The event focuses on many important topics, including higher education, economic development and healthcare. All questions will be submitted by students.
Use #StudentsAsk to participate in the interactive event on Twitter! And don't forget to show your support for #TeamJBE by using #PutLouisianaFirst.
Click here to tune in: http://www.lpb.org/...
I was going to write off this race because polls showed Senator "Diaper Dave" Vitter (R. LA) leading in this race. But latest polling shows that Vitter should be worried:
A March poll by Republican firm Triumph Campaigns showed Vitter and Democrat John Bel Edwards far ahead of the rest of the field in the Oct. 24 open primary. But a July 27-31 survey by Verne Kennedy’s Market Research Insight, another GOP firm, showed Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle leading with 24 percent, while Vitter drew 22 percent, Edwards received 20 percent and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne drew 13 percent.
Insiders say that Republican firm Harper Polling also conducted a poll in the race, but the firm’s president, Brock McCleary, refused comment, saying that he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of a survey. According to knowledgeable observers, the August 1-3 automated poll showed Edwards in first place with 28 percent, Vitter running second with 26 percent, Angell a competitive third with 18 percent, and Dardenne running fourth at 11 percent.
Vitter, who has carved out an image for himself as both a conservative and a reformer, graduated from Harvard, was a Rhodes Scholar and earned a law degree from Tulane. After that, he served in the state House and U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2004.
Vitter has won two statewide races, has a reputation as an aggressive campaigner and benefits from a huge financial advantage over his opponents. But he received a mountain of bad press following revelations in 2007 that he frequented prostitutes, and he has never had particularly good relations with his colleagues in Baton Rouge or Washington, D.C.
Dardenne, a Republican, began his career as a member of the East Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council before being elected to the state Senate in 1991. He won a special election for secretary of state in 2006 and served in that office until 2010, when he won a special election to fill the open lieutenant governor’s office. A year later, he won a full term.
Dispassionate observers describe Dardenne as well-liked and with a reputation as a penny-pincher. But the historian and poet is “very much of a Baton Rouge candidate,” who doesn’t have great appeal in North Louisiana, according to one thoughtful observer. He has about $2 million in the bank and has been slow to spend it.
The other Republican in the race — which will likely be decided in a Nov. 21 runoff, assuming that no candidate wins a majority in the October open primary — is Angelle, a one-time Democrat.
Angelle, who served as Louisiana’s secretary of Natural Resources and, briefly, as lieutenant governor in 2010, has lower name identification than Dardenne and started far back in the race. But his early television advertising has been effective, and Louisiana insiders believe that he now is a factor in the contest. One observer called him “a firecracker of a speaker.”
“Vitter remains the top dog in the Republican race, but he has competition now from Angelle,” says Jeremy Alford, editor and publisher of LaPolitics.com and LaPolitics Weekly, adding “Angelle has paid for his momentum, spending his money on early television ads. It’s a risky gamble, but it seems to have paid off, at least so far.”
The fourth candidate, Edwards, is a West Point graduate, attorney and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives since 2008. But he’s also a Democrat in a state in which Democrats are increasingly on the defensive. While state elections are very different from federal contests, especially since they occur in an off-off year, President Barack Obama remains an albatross around the necks of Democrats hoping to localize this year’s elections.
The state’s election process – a “jungle” primary followed by a possible runoff between the top two finishers, regardless of party – creates an interesting dynamic that could have a dramatic impact on the outcome.
Right now, Edwards is expected to make the runoff, since he is the lone Democrat in the contest and can count on support from the African-American community and those whites who still vote Democratic. According to exit polls, African-Americans constituted 30 percent of Senate race voters in 2014 and 24 percent in 2010. - Roll Call, 9/1/15
One group Edwards seems to be really aiming for to get out the vote for him are student voters. He's been hitting Vitter and the other GOP candidates for being big backers of Governor Bobby Jindal's (R. LA) destructive policies, including cutting education funding by over $700 million:
In introducing Rep. John Bel Edwards, the Democratic candidate for governor, Kathleen Blanco, the last Democrat to sit in the governor's mansion, said Jindal's agenda represented "absolutely perfect Republican policies."
"The good news is, for the first time in a very long time, Bobby Jindal will not be on the ballot," she said. "The bad news is that many of his cronies will be."
In a brief interview before the Democratic Party's annual event, Edwards called his Republican opponents U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Jindal's "cheerleaders and enablers."
Riffing on a similar theme, when he took the lectern in front of a crowd of several hundred, he called them, respectively, "Jindal on steroids," "Jindal light" and "Jindal incarnate."
Edwards said he recognized that the state's party politics don't work in his favor, but voters are, more than ever, fed up with voting the party line. "Voting Republican hasn't got them what the wanted," he said, citing cuts to higher education, healthcare and seven years of revenue shortfalls. - The Times-Picayune, 7/25/15
It feels like Vitter's momentum is starting to crater while Edwards' momentum is gaing. He's received major endorsements from huge groups like VoteVets:
Baton Rouge, LA – The largest progressive veterans group in America, with over 400,000 supporters, VoteVets PAC, today is endorsing fellow veteran John Bel Edwards for Governor of Louisiana.
“John Bel Edwards hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from, and he’s always been there for his fellow vets,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of VoteVets.org. “But, more than that, John Bel has shown that serving all people and America, with honor, is in his blood. He will make an incredible Governor – one who Louisiana and its veterans can be proud to call a friend.”
According to his biography, John Bel Edwards is a is a 1988 Dean’s List graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. While at West Point, he was chosen by his classmates as the Vice Chairman of the Honor Committee In Charge of Investigations. He spent eight years on active duty with the US Army as an Airborne Ranger, culminating with command of a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
While a state legislator, John Bel Edwards authored and pushed for dozens of bills focused on protecting veterans, and the services they’ve earned. These bills included expanding eligibility for housing among the veterans community, recreating the Department of Veterans Affairs in the state, and reversing budget cuts to the agency submitted by Governor Jindal.
Founded in 2006, the mission of VoteVets.org Political Action Committee is to elect Veterans to public office, with a focus on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and hold public officials accountable for their words and actions that impact America's 21st century troops and veterans. Though VoteVets.org PAC is non-partisan, candidates it backs must support VoteVets.org's core mission and beliefs. - VoteVets, 8/14/15
And Edwards has also been picking up some big local endorsements as well:
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell officially endorsed state Rep. John Bel Edwards for governor at Campbell’s PSC office in Shreveport on Tuesday.
Edwards is the lone Democrat among the major candidates who have announced for the governor’s race. Campbell, who represents 24 northern Louisiana parishes on the PSC, is also a Democrat.
Campbell ran for governor unsuccessfully in 2007, a race Gov. Bobby Jindal won.
Campbell, who spent 27 years in the Louisiana Senate before winning the PSC race in 2002, served in the Legislature or on the PSC with the three major Republican candidates — fellow Public Service Commission Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and U.S. Sen. David Vitter. - The News Star, 9/2/15
Looks like we have another big Governor's race this year that we can win. Click here to donate and get involved with Edwards' campaign: