The Tuesday Tracker, Sponsored by Harris, DeVille & Associates

By Jeremy Alford & Mitch Rabalais    |    April 15, 2019    |    Issue 183    |    |    @LaPoliticsNow    |     

Your Roll Call

A rundown of the campaign finance numbers…  Where things are for the three in the governor’s race, along with the other statewide contests… John Alario and Taylor Barras are concerned that session may be hazardous to your health… A look back that the infamous Chehardy family of Jefferson Parish… John Kennedy, Billy Nungesser and Mike Strain have been spotted… 

Capitoland Countdown

51 days until sine die… 124 days until qualifying opens... 181 days until the primary elections... 226 days until the runoff elections... 286 days left in the term…


What We Know About the Dough

Last night marked the filing deadline for the first quarter of the 2019 election cycle, leaving many politicos and reporters up late refreshing the Ethics Board website to see the latest numbers. While many of the big dogs released their numbers last week, Capitoland inhabitants wanted to see the specifics figures and dollar amounts for themselves. 

Here’s where things stand as of this morning. 

—As we found out earlier, Gov. John Bel Edwards has over $10,100,000 in his war chest, having raised $2,627,240 in the first quarter. The governor has spent roughly $765,000 so far, has nearly $7 million in investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Gumbo PAC, the pro-JBE unit led by consultant Trey Ourso, has $2.25 million in the bank, having raised $278,000 in the first quarter. Gumbo spent $143,276 so far, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—While we knew that businessman Eddie Rispone would report having over $10.5 million on hand, the real question was how much of that money came out of his own pockets. According to the reports, the Baton Rouge Republican loaned his campaign another $5 million, bringing his total personal contribution this cycle to $10,050,000. The Rispone campaign raised slightly less than $600,000, spent nearly $575,000, have no investments and are not carrying any debt. 

—The report for Congressman Ralph Abraham showed that the Alto Republican passed the $1 million benchmark for his war chest, having $1,004,215 in the bank. Abraham raised almost $800,000 in the quarter, spent nearly $140,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Securing Louisiana’s Future, the pro-Abraham PAC, has yet to file any reports. 

—With former House Minority Leader Gene Reynolds publicly telling reporters that he is considering a bid for lieutenant governor, incumbent Billy Nungesser’s fundraising numbers are receiving an extra look. According to the reports, Nungesser has $664,612 on hand, having raised more than $312,000 in the quarter and spent slightly more than $50,000. The lieutenant governor has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, facing perhaps the most daunting re-election for a statewide incumbent, reported having $863,000 in the bank, having raised just over $400,000 in the first quarter. Donelon roughly $63,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. Challenger Tim Temple, a first time candidate, has just passed the $1 million mark for his war chest, having raised nearly $33,000 in the quarter and loaned his campaign $315,000. Temple loaned his campaign $822,000 in 2018. His expenditures were at roughly $173,000 and his campaign has no debt or investments. 

—Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has roughly $178,000 on hand, having raised over $100,000 in the quarter. Ardoin spent nearly $60,000, has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—Attorney General Jeff Landry has the largest war chest outside of the gubernatorial race, reporting nearly $2.2 million on hand. Landry raised just over $430,000 in the first quarter, spent roughly $125,000, has investments of just over $1 million and is carrying no debt. 

—Treasurer John Schroder has nearly $320,000 in the bank, raised $178,000 in the quarter, spent slightly more than $16,000 has no investments and is carrying no debt. 

—While drawing a challenger (Democrat Charlie Greer of Natchitoches) in the past few days, Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain posted fundraising figures of slightly more than $21,000. Strain has $693,000 on hand for the race, spent nearly $25,000 in the quarter, has no investments and is carrying no debt. Greer, who officially declared his candidacy on April 8, has yet to file any paperwork with the Ethics Administration. 

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Louisiana's Chlorine Connection

From clean water to pharmaceuticals, and computers to cars, chlorine is essential to our lives. And Louisiana is essential to chlorine. Louisiana plays a key role in chlorine production and chlorine production plays a key role in our economy. 

Thirty-five to 40 percent of the nation’s annual chlorine capacity is produced right here in Louisiana. The chlorine chemistry industry employs more than 17,000 people, making up 13 percent of the manufacturing jobs in our state. And every year, Louisiana’s chlorine chemistry industry generates $1.8 billion in earnings.

Chlorine is necessary to make our drinking water safe and our pools healthy. It removes bacteria, viruses and parasites from water and safeguards lasting disinfection from water treatment facilities to our faucets. Chlorine is a key factor that brings communities into the modern era and directly and positively affects poverty, hunger and health. It also provides emergency disinfection in times of natural disasters and disease outbreaks.

Chlorine chemistry is connected to many of the activities and products we rely on every day. It is a life-changing ingredient to communities around the world and it continues to keep people safe, healthy and thriving—especially right here in Louisiana. To read an expanded version of this article, go here.

Solutions Through Science (STS) is a partnership of the chlor-alkali producers and users in the state of Louisiana. Its mission is to promote the benefits of chlorine chemistry and its many products through educational outreach and issues management. For more information, go to



We all know what session means for diets of politicos. The annual conclave in the the Capitol means that most survive on a steady stream of sustenance that includes a lot of Ruth’s Chris steaks, Pastime pizzas and Capitol cheeseburgers, all washed down with a cocktail or two. 

While Senate President John Alario and Speaker Taylor Barras have already had some disagreements this year over the state’s revenue forecast, they do agree that the outlook is not necessarily optimistic for the health of their members. While the expanding waistlines are good for clothing stores such as the one formerly owned by Rep. Bubba Chaney, the presiding officers are stepping in to address the health issue. 

The big men with the big gavels are teaming up with LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center to host the Speaker and President’s Health Fair. Tuesday, members and staff will be able to get health screenings from LSU’s highly acclaimed medical professionals. 

According to Lisa Stansbury, Pennington’s communications director, obesity is a chief concern for the doctors and nurses visiting the Capitol. “Obesity is a disease that 3 out of 10 Louisianans suffer from and it underlies a host of medical complications, including 15 different types of cancer,” she said. “From chronic disease suffering to health care treatment costs – the obesity burden on our state is taking its toll.”  


Speaker Pro-Tem Walt Leger

LaPolitics: What are your thoughts as you head into your last session?

Speaker Pro-Tem Walt Leger: This year, like so many others, pops up and engulfs you before you know what hit you and it is a mad sprint to June 6.  But this year is definitely special, and I can't help but feel excited and nostalgic as I reflect on last 12 years.  I am proud of the accomplishments, frustrated with the moments that the legislature has failed to act, but optimistic about what this session and the future can bring.  It is definitely bittersweet.

 LaPolitics: What is the top priority for you legislatively during session?

Maintaining balance in our funding priorities, keeping the budget on stable ground, investing more in education, including pay raises for teachers and support staff and funding for 0-3 early childhood education.  I think maintaining budget stability and investing in education and access to affordable healthcare would be significant achievements.

LaPolitics: What do you think is going to be the most controversial issue this session?

The Budget, the debate on a single tax collector, billboard regulation/moratorium bills, I'm sure there will countless others related to the relationship between the state and local governments, protection against losing healthcare if you have pre-existing condition...

(Check back with LaPolitics Weekly on Thursday for Leger’s thoughts on infrastructure funding for New Orleans, favorite memories from the Legislature and what is next for him) 


Qualifying with the Chehardys

While Louisiana’s political history is filled with stories of many colorful characters, it is safe to say that there was never quite an individual like Jefferson Parish’s own Lawrence A. Chehardy

While in most parishes, the tax assessor was an largely unseen minor elected official, Chehardy easily wielded the most political power in Jefferson Parish. The man known a “Big Lawrence” had won appointment to the job in 1965 and had never faced a serious electoral challenge. 

Chehardy’s pet issue was protection of the homestead exemption and he publicly led a crusade for the popular property tax exemption, often with the media in tow. The assessor knew how to inform the voters of Jefferson Parish about his work, and they rewarded his fight for their taxes with nearly unheard levels of loyalty. Later recalling a visit to a grocery store with Chehardy, consultant Neil Curran told reporter Tyler Bridges, “People reached for his hand and looked like they were ready to kneel before him and thank him for protecting their Homestead Exemption.” 

Chehardy had attended the 1973 Constitutional Convention as a delegate, but even his fellow drafters amid he was concerned with little beyond the document’s taxation article. “That’s all he cared about,” recalled fellow Delegate Tony Guarisco

As qualifying for the regularly scheduled elections approached in 1975, Chehardy was unopposed on the ballot for a fourth term. Nobody dared challenge the popular assessor and his legions of suburban supporters. 

However, as Brides writes in The Rise and Fall of David Duke, minutes before qualifying closed, the assessor’s 22-year-old son, Lawerence E. Chehardy, showed up at the courthouse and put his name on the ballot for his father’s seat. With only seconds left before qualifying closed, the elder Chehardy appeared and withdrew from the race, allowing his son to succeed him with no electoral opposition. 

S P O T T E D !

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy was seen visiting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office Friday. 

—POLITICKING IN PONCHATOULA: Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain were seen riding in Tangipahoa Parish’s Strawberry Festival parade this past weekend. 

—Sen. Troy Carter and Reps. Jerome Zeringue, Reid Falconer, Jack McFarland, Joe Marino and Ray Garofalo were seen at the State Police shooting range Thursday morning, getting in some training and practice. 

—Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco was back at the Governor’s Mansion on Thursday, attending the annual Easter Egg Hunt with her grandchildren. 

—First Amendment warrior Scott Sternberg was seen chatting with former District Attorney Ed Tarpley at a luncheon on Friday. 

—Sen. Francis Thompson and his new dog, Hunter, were seen enjoying a stroll around the Pentagon Apartments last week. According to the Delhi Democrat, his new canine best friend is still adjusting to the Capital City. 

—Rep. Jack McFarland showed off his best celebration dance for his Twitter followers after defeating his wife and daughter at a game of Yahtzee over the weekend. 

—Rep. Alan Seabaugh and his wife, Laura, were seen visiting with the Easter Bunny during an egg hunt in Northwest Louisiana. No word on if Rep. Seabaugh requested any extra candy for his colleagues. 

—AFP’s John Kay broke out a special Almond Milk carton lapel pin for the Senate Agriculture hearing on Sen. Francis Thompson’s bill to do away with the “milk” part of the nut-extracted beverage’s name. 

—WILL BE SPOTTED: LSU football coach Ed Orgeron, baseball coach Paul Mainieri, gymnastics coach D.D. Breaux and softball coach Beth Torina will be at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon for LSU Day. 

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S T A F F   S H I F T S 

—Former Shreveport Times Editor Jeff Gauger will be heading to LSU’s campus as a professional-in-residence within the Manship School of Mass Communication. Gauger will also be working as the content advisor to LSU’s legendary student newspaper, The Reveille. 

I ’ M   J U S T   A   B I L L

With the regular session getting underway, members are still filing measures for colleagues to consider as the Legislature’s work progresses. Here are some newly-filed bills to keep an eye on. 

HB584 by Rep. Dodie Horton: “Repeal the .45% levy of state sales and use tax for the rate and base for state sales and use taxes.” 

HB579 by Rep. Pat Connick: “Provides for the regulation of hemp.” 

HB587 by Rep. Joe Marino: “Levies a state tax on the net proceeds of sports wagering, dedicates the avails of the tax, and imposes certain gaming fees.” 

SB204 by Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson: “Authorizes the voters in the parish of Orleans to decide how hospitality taxes are dedicated.” 

SB216 by Sen. Norby Chabert: “Creates the State Land Office Reforestation Fund.” 

P O L I T I C A L   C H A T T E R

—Big congrats to the team over at The Advocate for winning one of journalism’s most prestigious awards, the Pulitzer Prize! The paper won the honor for their outstanding coverage of the Bayou State’s jury laws and the debate on unanimous verdicts. 

The Advertiser: “Mayor-President Joel Robideaux announced Friday he will not seek re-election to a second term as the chief executive of the Lafayette Consolidated Government.” 

—Congressman Ralph Abraham’s gubernatorial campaign released a Game of Thrones themed digital spot ahead of the season premiere of the acclaimed HBO show. Gov. John Bel Edwards and Gumbo PAC also make an appearance. 

—Gumbo PAC has a new spot out supporting Edwards’ push for a teacher pay raise. 

—Gannett’s Greg Hilburn took a deep dive on Legislative policy in the fine print, writing about what happens in event of a budget impasse after adjournment.  

—New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has voiced her support for extending Harrah’s casino license in the Crescent City. Catch the latest from T-Boy. 

@JSODonoghue: “Kind of an amazing little detail: Prison system head Jimmy LeBlanc said they believe contraband is getting into the prison system at Angola via drone drops. #lalege #lagov” 

@MelindaDeslatte: “Ethics board decides to issue a ruling later on whether Rep. Nancy Landry can seek to be House clerk next term. Board has 90 days to issue an opinion. #lalege” 

—Senate President John Alario has been honored by New Orleans & Company with the Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award. 

—Rep. Malinda White was honored by the Northshore chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association as their 2019 Legislative Champion. 

—Rep. Beryl Amedee showed her Twitter followers what a cluttered member’s desk looks like on the House floor. 

—Cartoonist Fred Mulhearn gives a humorous take on assessing polls this early in the governor’s race. 

—A contingent of speakers from Together Baton Rouge/Together Louisiana are set to address the Baton Rouge Press Club at their annual luncheon next Monday. 

Pre-orders are being accepted for Bob Mann’s latest book, Becoming Ronald Reagan: The Rise of a Conservative Icon

N E W S   S H A P I N G   O U R   P O L I T I C S

The News-Star: "While voters may be honed in on October's state elections, some members of the Louisiana Legislature are already jockeying for position to win an insider election as the next Senate president in 2020.” 

The Advocate: “Robert Travis Scott was struck by the stark difference between the top two candidates at the Public Affairs Research Council gubernatorial forum in Baton Rouge exactly four years ago.” 

The Times-Pic: “Gov. John Bel Edwards said he might be willing to sign legislation that would keep the source of Louisiana’s lethal injection drugs a secret and out of the public record -- a move that could make executions easier to carry out in the state.” 

Gambit: “The sun may have shone down on Mayor LaToya Cantrell during her trade mission to Cuba April 2-7, but the skies opened up — literally and figuratively — on her while she was away.” 

B E L T W A Y   B E A T

—U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is spending his week in-state. Monday, he spoke to the American Telemedicine Association at their annual conference in New Orleans. Wednesday, he will attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Comite River Diversion Project. 

Cassidy has also introduced multiple bills aimed at lowering the costs of medication. 

—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy went to the White House on Friday for a private lunch with President Donald Trump. During the meal, the senator and the president discussed a possible final solution to the fix of the delay with the duplication of benefits for flood victims. 

—Goodwill awarded Kennedy their Policymaker Leader Award. 

—Minority Whip Steve Scalise spent Tax Day making the media rounds, touting the effects of the cuts that he helped pass last year. 

—Assistant Majority Whip Cedric Richmond sent a letter to Acting Homeland Secretary Kevin McAleenan, expressing concern with the department’s immigration policies. 

—Republican Study Committee Chair Mike Johnson joined with other members of his group to issue a 13 page response to the Green New Deal. 

Johnson also appeared on the RSC’s first podcast to discuss spending and budgetary issues. 

—Congressman Clay Higgins is joining both of the Bayou State’s senators on the License Natural Gas (LNG) Now Act, signing on as a co-sponsor.

—Congressman Garret Graves is bringing back his popular “Grub with Garret” event, holding an open meal with constituents Thursday. 

WHAT YOU MISSED…In Last Week’s LaPolitics Weekly

—How Gumbo PAC will keep the money flowing in support of John Bel Edwards

—What role will the Water Coalition PAC play in 2019? 

—Both Edwards and Ralph Abraham get in digs at the campaign’s first forum 

—With a new revenue forecast, the Fourth Floor eyes budget amendments 

—A look back at the late Armand J. Brinkhaus

Pat Smith talks about her Senate race against Cleo Fields 

—Inside the Rails: A prominent Democrat mulls challenging Lance Harris 

Steve Scalise gets down with some Zydeco in Field Notes 

John Alario cracks a few classic quips in They Said It! 

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Sasol & Sam Houston Jones State Park to hold second annual Easter Egg Hunt

HDA client Sasol will sponsor the second annual Easter Egg Hunt in Sam Houston Jones State Park near Lake Charles this Saturday, April 20. Join Sasol volunteers and Lake Charles-area visitors for two egg hunts in the park, at 11a.m. and 1p.m, as well as games, food trucks and more.

The park is home to the Sasol-sponsored Longleaf Legacy Project, a partnership with Louisiana State Parks and local conservation groups to restore 70 acres of a treasured native ecosystem within the park as part of the company's Corporate Social Investment program. The program includes mulching, burning and maintaining areas of the park to remove and prevent regrowth of invasive, nonnative species and protect the unique habitat for native wildflowers, birds, animals and the ecosystem’s namesake longleaf pine tree.

In 2016, members of the Southwest Louisiana community identified a need to restore areas of the longleaf pine savanna ecosystem located within Sam Houston Jones State Park. Sasol recognized the value of this unique forest and worked with community partners to develop and fund an effort to restore areas within the park. Implemented by the Coastal Plain Conservancy and funded by Sasol, the Longleaf Legacy Project is dedicated to the heritage, restoration and rebirth of the longleaf pine forest – an endangered and historically significant ecosystem. Project partners are engaged in a multi-year effort to restore the local ecosystem to its former majestic condition.

For more about the project, visit

To learn about Sasol’s CSI initiatives, visit Sasol online.

# H B D ,   T R A C K E R S !

—Tuesday, April 16: Jesse McCormick, Bradley Beychok, Susanne Johnson Inman, John Dupont and Joshua Paul Melder

—Wednesday, April 17: Shelly Dupre

—Thursday, April 18: Rep. Sam Jones, Rep. Jerome “Nature Boy” Zeringue, former Rep. Roy Burrell, Carl Redman and Kathy Stuart 

—Friday, April 19: Pho expert Mary Elise Schlesinger and Stewart Cathey

—Saturday, April 20: Rep. Thomas Carmody, former Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Ryan Heck and Geoffrey Green

—Sunday, April 21: Charlie Davis

—Monday, April 22: Rep. Chris Leopold, Chris Comeaux and Jeanne Burns Dempster

Birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, you name it.

We want to know about your special day.

Send those dates to

Copyright © 2019

Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review

All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tracker



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