The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Tuesday Tracker

Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates


February 19, 2019   |   Issue No. 176   |   |   @LaPoliticsNow   | 


An update on the campaign finance front… Jim Donelon is on the POD… HD66 candidate Morgan Lamandre talks about the Ethics Board… EWE causes a stir with his Mardi Gras parking… Danny Martiny and Robert Billiot have been spotted… Three new bills in the hopper for session… A huge retirement in Rapides…


4 days until the special elections in HD12, HD47, HD18, HD 26, HD 27, HD 62 and HD 17… 48 days until the start of the regular session… 168 days until qualifying opens… 235 days until the primary elections… 270 days until the runoff elections… 328 days left in the term…

Campaign Finance Report Update

Here’s where the big dogs stand following last week’s Ethics Administration filing deadline: 

—As we already knew, Gov. John Bel Edwards has nearly $8.4 million in the bank, raised more than $3.8 million in 2018, has spent roughly $405,000, has $6,417,850 in investments and is carrying no debt. Gumbo PAC, the pro-JBE outfit led by consultant Trey Ourso, has $2.1 million in the bank, raised almost $1.5 million in 2018, spent more than $180,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—The new report from Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone shows that he has more than $5.5 million in the bank, raised nearly $560,000, loaned his campaign $5,050,000, has spent roughly $96,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Congressman Ralph Abraham revealed that he raised over $350,000 in the final weeks of 2018, spent just over $6,000 on his gubernatorial campaign and his state account has no investments and is carrying no debt. According to the FEC, Abraham has nearly $104,000 in his separate House campaign account. While legally a federal account cannot be used directly on a state race, boosters argue that recent case should allow the congressman to transfer whatever dollars he deems appropriate to a PAC. Securing Louisiana’s Future, the pro-Abraham PAC, has yet to file any reports because they commenced activities in January. Consultant Brett Buerck, who is handling the PAC, says that their fundraising has yielded “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Their financial picture should be clearer once the April 15 filing deadline passes for PACs supporting major candidates in this fall’s elections. 

—Sen. Sharon Hewitt is gearing up…for something. Hewitt officially said that she was “undecided” on a future office in her report and tells LaPolitics that she is still weighing a run for governor. According to the filings, she has over $250,000 in the bank, raised $90,000 in 2018 and loaned her campaign $200,000, spent nearly $65,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. While having over $250K is an asset in the race for Senate president, that dog won’t hunt for long in the governor’s race.

—With no opponents yet, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser’s reports show that he is sitting pretty. Nungesser, who appears ready to coast to a second term with no announced challengers yet wading into the fray, has $414,000 in the bank, having raised over $500,000 in 2018 and spent $582,000, with the lion’s share going to repay loans that Nungesser made to the campaign. With two big fundraisers already on the calendar for this year, Nungesser appears to have a hefty financial advantage. If a candidate were to run at this point, they would likely have to self-finance to match the lieutenant governor’s fundraising prowess. 

—Candidates for insurance commissioner are putting their money where their mouths are. Facing his first formidable challenge since his initial election in 2006, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has over half-a-million dollars on hand heading into 2019. However, expect that number to increase as the Jefferson Parish native hits up the fundraising circuit as the campaign progresses. He raised just over $445,000 in 2018. Challenger Tim Temple, who is jumpstarting his campaign with an influx of personal funds, reported having over $800,000 in his campaign kitty, having raised just under $80,000 and loaning his campaign $822,000. Temple’s expenditures ran over $60,000. 

—After waging a campaign for a full term last fall, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has just over $130,000 in the bank, having raised $153,000 in 2018 and spent nearly $155,000, including $25,900 in loans that he personally made to the campaign. He has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Attorney General Jeff Landry has nearly $1.9 million in the bank, raised just over $1 million in 2018, spent $338,000, has investments of just over $1 million and is carrying no debt. 

—Treasurer John Schroder has nearly $165,000 in the bank, raised $214,000 in 2018, spent nearly $70,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain has nearly $700,000 in the bank, raised just under $160,000 in 2016, spent nearly $70,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

Donelon, Disco & the Dividends of Defeat 

In the latest episode of The LaPolitics Report podcast, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon sat down for an in-depth discussion that spanned his nearly 50-year career in Louisiana politics.

During an entraining and reflective interview, Donelon dished on his  political roots in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, and the role he played during the transformative period of the 1970s. 

If that wasn’t enough, the commissioner likewise offered up two rules to live by when faced with defeat, and he has encountered his fair share — on nearly every level of elected office:

1.) The friends you make when you’re a loser could come in handy as friends when you’re a winner

2.) Losing provides a real opportunity for politicos to review their philosophical beliefs and policy priorities

Donelon also talked about his bid for re-election this year. “I’m very, very confident that the public knows and appreciates what we have done and how we have done it for the past 12 years,” he said. 

Plus, we kick off this episode with some very groovy sounds and a vintage news clip that’s worthy of your white jumpsuit.

A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates 

HDA client Louisiana Chemical Association Supports St. Charles Schools

The Louisiana Chemical Association recently released a video about how business and industry provide opportunities for students in St. Charles Parish. To view the video, click here.

The Morgan Lamandre Q&A

LaPolitics: Last week, your appeal to the Ethics Board to classify childcare as a campaign expense was successful. What did it mean for you personally to be able to get the board’s initial decision reversed? 

HD66 candidate Morgan Lamandre: For me personally, this decision means that my family will no longer have to choose between my husband sacrificing work commissions or coming up with the extra money to pay for the additional childcare expenses. I also view this as a win for all working families who may have a parent interested in running for office.

LaPolitics: With data consistently showing that younger candidates are increasingly running for legislative seats, how important is it for candidates with young families to be able to pay for childcare out of their campaign funds?  

Lamandre: It’s incredibly important for the makeup of our state legislature to be reflective of our communities. There are many people who have the skills and determination to excel as legislators; however, the daunting and tiresome demands of running a campaign can deter people from pursuing public office. For those with limited financial means, the costs of running a campaign can be especially prohibitive. On top of that, being a working parent running for office poses additional barriers. Allowing campaign funds to be used for childcare lessens this barrier so that we can run competitive campaigns.

LaPolitics: When you initially filed this appeal, did you expect it to draw the attention that it eventually did? 

Lamandre: When I filed the appeal, I expected there to be attention on the issue because the original decision of the Ethics Board to not allow campaign funds to be used for childcare gained national attention. My goal in asking for reconsideration, however, was not to feed the media. I am running for office and I felt determined to take a stand against this unjust decision. Back in August when I was considering running for office, I tagged Sen. JP Morrell in a tweet about introducing a bill that would allow campaign funds for childcare expenses. It was in response to a candidate in Connecticut being denied the ability to use them for that purpose. I joked and said that I would love to be the one to introduce that bill when I was elected as a representative, but it would probably serve me better if I was able to use them myself. Sen. Morrell informed me that our ethics laws were “pretty loose” on the issue, so it would probably just require an opinion from the Ethics Board. After I made the request, I thought it would be uneventful and I would receive approval since I found out another candidate was allowed to use campaign funds for childcare. However, after the initial decision, I began to research the campaign finance reports to identify what else funds were used for. I found out that four other male candidates previously used campaign funds for childcare, which led to the social media post that got me widespread attention from the press.

LaPolitics: What did it mean for you to receive support from a wide variety of lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum and gender lines, including Rep. Rick Edmonds, your opponent in HD66? 

Lamandre: Because of my reputation as being fair, transparent, and willing to ask the tough questions, I knew that other lawmakers would support me and understand why this issue was important to working families across the state. I am known as an innovative and creative problem solver, especially through my work with state legislators to bring forth policy initiatives to address sexual violence and improve services for survivors. This issue is similar; it is not about what benefits the right or left, women or men, or Republicans or Democrats. It’s about fairness and doing what’s right. Collaboration from everyone is always the key to ensuring that we are doing the right thing for the people of Louisiana.

Your Political History 

EWE’s Parade Parking

Ever have trouble finding a parking spot during Mardi Gras? You’re not alone.

In 1972, then-Gov. Edwin W. Edwards caused a minor ruckus when his automobile was parked illegally during a parade, leading to a memorable photograph from Louisiana political lore. 

That year had been packed for Edwards, a first-year governor who was trying to balance a full social calendar with a special tax session. According to Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana by Leo Honeycutt, one afternoon the governor wound up stuck in Baton Rouge during an ongoing legislative debate and couldn’t get away to New Orleans, where he was scheduled to ride in a parade as the grand marshal. 

After departing the Capitol much later than expected, Edwards and his State Police security detail sped down I-10, while parade organizers held off on starting until the governor arrived. 

Once Edwards was atop a float and waving to onlookers, his security detail parked the executive vehicle in a nearby spot, stayed nearby to keep watch and enjoy the parade. The only problem was that the big, white Cadillac with the the distinct gubernatorial “LA 1” license plate was parked illegally next to a fire hydrant. 

Unfortunately for both Edwards and the State Police, an AP photographer snapped a shot of the car. It ran in that Sunday’s papers under the headline “FRINGE BENEFIT.”  

(And it wasn’t the last time that Edwin Edwards was accused of taking some extra benefits…)

Spotted (and heard)… 

—The West Point Baseball team was seen at the Governor’s Mansion after their loss to LSU Saturday night. Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife, Donna, hosted the squad for a reception. 

—Sen. Dan Claitor was heard playing his favorite Three Dog Night song on his morning show on Baton Rouge’s Talk 107.3. 

—Sen. Danny Martiny and Reps. Robert Billiot, Royce Duplessis, Stephanie Hilferty, Joe Marino, Polly Thomas and Malinda White were seen at various schools in Jefferson Parish participating in Early Ed Week. 

—Rep. Jack McFarland was seen chatting with former Rep. Chris Broadwater in the Alario Hall Tuesday afternoon. 

Henry Lee Wray, son of consultants Mary Patricia and Ira Wray, was seen on his mother’s lap during the Ethics Board’s meeting considering the appeal to consider childcare as a campaign expense. While we’re not sure who the youngest person to ever sit at the witness table is, Henry Lee is certainly up there. 

I’m Just a Bill…

With just over two months remaining until the start of the regular session, members are already filling bills for consideration when members convene. Since lawmakers are limited to only five instruments this session, everybody will be carefully considering what legislation they are choosing to introduce. Here are some of the bills filed within the last week: 

—SB4 by Sen. J.P. Morrell: “Constitutional amendment to exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from state sales and use tax.” 

—SB6 by Sen. Bob Hensgens: “Provides for a tax deduction for certain expenses incurred by teachers.” 

—HB9 by Rep. Joe Marino: “Provides relative to costs of expungement of a record.” 

Political Chatter 

—After six terms in office, Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton announced Monday that he would not seek re-election this fall.  

—Thursday night, the New Orleans City Council will be voting on the controversial new Entergy power plant in New Orleans East. 

—The Louisiana Motor Transport Association has endorsed Tim Temple in the race for insurance commissioner. 

—Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office announced plans to put a veterans center on every college campus in Louisiana by the fall 2019 semester. 

—LSU’s Manship School sat down with former LCA President Dan Borné for a lengthy interview on his life and career. 

—Catch Jeff Beimfohr and KTBS’ in-depth look at Sen. John Milkovich’s book on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  

—Gambit’s Blake Pontchartrain takes a look at how the Superdome got its unique name with some help from late Gov. John McKeithen

—The Fiscal Review Committee has intervened and appointed administrators to run the city of Bogalusa and the town of Sterlington, bringing the number of mini

—A stabbing in St. Landry Parish has opened a debate between the city of Opelousas and the Parish government over responsibility for a public building. 

—Superintendent of Education John White will be speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club at their weekly meeting next Monday. 

—The Louisiana Political Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony is set for Saturday evening in Lafayette. 

—Baton Rouge’s annual Gridiron Show is set for the weekend of March 22-23. For the first time ever, tickets can be purchased online through their new website.

The War Chest War

—Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser has scheduled a fundraiser in Kenner for March 11. State GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich is named on the invitation as an honored guest and former Chairman Roger Villere is also listed as a sponsor. 

News Shaping Our Politics

The AP: “Louisiana officials say they have nailed down the voting registration method they’ll use for convicted felons whose rights will be restored under a law effective March 1.” 

The News-Star: “President Donald Trump doesn't plan to raid Louisiana's $1.4 billion in disaster flood funding to build a border wall under his national emergency declaration, easing concerns of GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy.” 

The Times-Pic: “John Young, the former Jefferson Parish president seeking to reclaim the office, started 2019 with more money in his political treasury than the combined total of incumbent Mike Yenni or Cynthia Lee-Sheng, according to new campaign finance reports filed Friday (Feb. 15). That gives Young a financial leg up in the race to the Oct. 12 election.” 

Beltway Beat: Recess Time 

While Congress is in recess with a government shutdown averted and President Donald Trump receiving the desired funding for his border wall, the Bayou State’s delegation has returned home to meet with constituents and make some appearances back in Louisiana. 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy will be spending part of the week in North Louisiana, visiting Shreveport and Monroe before returning to New Orleans on Friday to appear on WGSO for Jeff Crouere’s 20th anniversary show. 

—U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy will be speaking to the LMA’s mid-winter conference in Baton Rouge on Wednesday. 

—Minority Whip Steve Scalise partnered with U.S. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma for a USA Today Op-Ed on what the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech mean to them. 

—Congressman Mike Johnson is leading the charge on keeping the phrase “so help me God” in the oath used by witnesses testifying before congressional committee.

—Congressman Garret Graves hosted a “Grub with Garret” luncheon in Baton Rouge Monday, he will also be addressing the LMA’s mid-winter conference this week. Two of Graves’ bills, modernizing Congressional casework and protecting Senic byways, passed the House by large, bipartisan margins. 

What You Missed in the Weekly 

—What was in Ralph Abraham’s campaign finance report 

—Details on the pro-Doc Super PAC

—Gumbo PAC coming to a boil

—LMA and local associations on centralized tax collections  

—Rundown of who is running in the seven special House races 

—A decision coming soon from John Fleming 

—The Ethics Board leads off our Field Notes! 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy talks about suggests and cards in our They Said It! feature 

Get on the inside today with a subscription to LaPolitics Weekly!

A message from Harris, DeVille & Associates 

Hire Local. Live Local. Buy Local.

Click here to view a video on HDA client Shintech’s chemical complex in Iberville Parish. This video is about Shintech’s philosophy, which is “hire local, live local and buy local.” Shintech prides itself on being a good neighbor and a good citizen in Louisiana. Watch the video and you’ll see what we mean. 

#HBD Trackers! 

— Wednesday, Feb. 20: Haley Jupiter, Emma Allain and Jason Berry

— Thursday, Feb. 21: Former Congressman Charles Boustany

— Friday, Feb. 22: Kenner City Councilman Tom Wilmott, Karen Rowley and Ken Krefft

— Sunday, Feb. 23: Ginger Adam Corley, Jim Richardson, Denise Lee Stari, Jan Pourciau, Rick Demint and Murray Nelson

— Monday, Feb. 24: Supreme Court Justice Marcus R. Clark, Terrence Ginn and Brian Moscona

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Copyright © 2019

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

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Tuesday Tracker



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