Race For Treasurer Wide Open 

A few polls are starting to surface in the race for state treasurer and they offer up a shared theme — this election is wide open and no one has it cornered.

That’s not much of a surprise.

Just getting voters to pay attention to this race will be a monumental challenge. Few actually care about the office, it is anything but politically sexy and there will be no other statewide elections on the Oct. 14 ballot.

It is an important position, though. The next treasurer will be charged with overseeing the state’s bank accounts. He or she will also chair the Bond Commission and set its agenda. And that’s where the real political leverage can be found. The commission oversees all government borrowing and it’s a place where donors and influencers commingle in hopes of scoring favorable votes and, more importantly, inclusion on agendas.

But the role of the treasurer also evolved under its last standard-bearer, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, who upgraded his elected position last year and prompted a special election this fall. Kennedy was an outspoken fiscal hawk, an anti-governor of the highest order — no matter who was in office — and a ready-to-go quote-maker for the Louisiana press.

The position of treasurer is a brand-maker thanks to Kennedy and many of his possible replacements are attracted to that idea.

Yet none seem poised to take the crown — or even seize the lead in this developing race. Polling shows the undecided vote, as of now, is gigantic for a statewide race. Moreover, very few voters polled can even recognize a name in the early field. (Qualifying for the office is July 12-14.)

Even the trial heats run so far have the established candidates all within a couple of points of each other. So money and organization will certainly be key factors, although the primary victors will probably reach the runoff by spending less than $1 million each.

The latest development in the race comes courtesy of a woman who has not yet officially announced that she will be a candidate for state treasurer. Still, Angele Davis, president and CEO of the Davis Kelley Group, certainly looks the part.

She has fundraisers already scheduled and her performance in those events will tell us a lot about how this race might shape up. Davis’ host lists do show a who’s who of Louisiana politics — contributors and heavyweights like Boysie Bollinger, Jimmy Maurin, Mark Romig, Gary Solomon and others.

But the name the candidates really want to be with is Kennedy, who has not yet tipped his hat on who he might support. A few of the candidates, however, have tried to stack their campaign teams with the personalities that helped Kennedy get to where he is today.

For now, it looks like a regional game. If Davis, a native of Baton Rouge; state Rep. Julie Stokes of Kenner; and state Rep. John Schroder of Covington all qualify for the contest, a bidding war for white votes in southeast Louisiana will commence and could have the effect of splitting that portion of the regional electorate. All three are Republicans and politicos expect that all of them will make the race.

State Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia, another Republican, appears to the lone soul from north Louisiana, a region of the state the longtime lawmaker should be able to carry easily. His campaign would probably be well served by making a big push in Acadiana as well, where his rural messaging should resonate.

While Cajun Country could be the battlefield that matters most in the fall, Schroder could have a slight edge in a low turnout race if he can keep his native St. Tammany, a critical GOP base, intact. Meanwhile, one of Stokes’ best advantages — being the only woman in the field — certainly won’t be helped by Davis making an official entry.

Stokes does have another advantage, and that’s the amount of media attention she has received in recent years for her unrelenting approach to both understanding Louisiana’s tax system and offering possible solutions. Even though she still has some work to do to increase her name recognition, Stokes may have some crossover ability, as evidenced by her showings across different demographics.

The same could be said about the other contenders as well, given the timeframe they’re working with. It just depends on how close to center on the ideological spectrum they want to move.

Taking all of this into account, the most important question in the race has still not been answered. Will a marketable Democrat from New Orleans get into this election? If the answer is yes, it could become an immediate game-changer in a field dominated by Republicans.

Of course, it probably won’t increase turnout. Or make many more people interested in the race. But we can always dream.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS: Abraham would prescribe limited convention

In yet another signal that Congressman Ralph Abraham will be on the ballot in 2018 and probably 2019, the veterinarian-turned-physician told

Rabalais: Slidell Mayoral Race (Plus Others) Is Anybody’s Game

In terms of the March 24 elections, no other city-wide race quite matches the dynamics of Slidell’s mayoral contest, which locals describe

They Said It – March 8

"One hump would be fine." —Senate President John Alario, when asked if he would prefer a unicameral legislature "I hope that will

Alford: Why LaPOLITICS Needs Your Help

A Personal Appeal from Jeremy Alford You may have heard about a fundraiser scheduled for next week (on Tuesday, March 27) for CC73, a

Rabalais: Hale Boggs Runs Afoul of Hoover and the FBI

In the spring of 1971, Congressman Hale Boggs of New Orleans, then the House majority leader, was making moves on Capitol Hill. A well

Waiting on HB2

Louisiana’s annual construction bill is expected to be read into the House later today, kicking off a process that is just as riddled with

Political Chatter

— Rep. Jay Morris is stepping up and speaking out about his concerns about a proposed constitutional convention. And he has a slick web

AS SEEN ON TWITTER: Lawmakers Split On Convention

— Rep. Jay Morris (@JayJaymorris3): Beware of a new constitution. All those pushing for it are aiming at the middle class. Noticeably no one

Alford: Looking for a Little Womentum

I was sitting inside Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge 11 years ago this week, holding my newborn daughter, Zoe, while watching then-Gov.

Gamard’s Beltway Beat

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy has had a busy week. He sent several messages across federal agencies, including one asking for healthcare payment


— Tuesday 03/20: Rep. Sherman Mack, John Williams, Tony Perkins, late Gov. Oramel H. Simpson (1870) and Blake Corley — Wednesday 03/21:

LOWDOWN: Our Jailhouse Politicians

These days, it seems there’s always either a politician going to prison or getting out of prison. As the saying goes, half the state is

POD: New Kids on the Block

In this week’s episode of the LaPOLITICS Report, we talk to members of the Louisiana Republican Party about the future of the GOP and the

SPONSORED: The Picard Group Welcomes Hunter Hall

We are proud to announce that Hunter Hall has joined the federal affairs team at The Picard Group. Hunter brings a wealth of knowledge on

What’s Up With Session Stuff and What It Means for Politics and Stuff

1.) The news: Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking Speaker Taylor Barras and President John Alario to pass a resolution that sets an early or

A Conversation With Wildlife & Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet

Jeremy Alford: I do want to talk fees with you, but I have to ask…  Do you miss it (serving in the Legislature) at all? Secretary Jack

Political Chatter

— The five managed care organizations (MCOs) that are contracted with the state to provide Medicaid benefits and services have created a new

Alford: The Pace Of Things To Come

What happens when you take a Louisiana Legislature that’s earning a reputation for disfunction and tell its members that they have just nine

Rabalais: Plaquemines Parish’s “Little War of 1943”

On June 1, 1943, the Sheriff of Plaquemines Parish, Louis Dauterive, died suddenly. Instead of an orderly transition amid a period of

Gamard’s Beltway Beat

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is one of the lawmakers sponsoring a “school safety and mental health” bill that directs federal dollars for


— Tuesday 03/13: Former Congressman Joseph Cao, Rep. Valarie Hodges, Donald Hodge, Jessica Starns Debetaz and Phil Ranier — Wednesday

LOWDOWN: Louisiana’s Talented Politicians

We’ve finally reached the talent portion of The LaPolitics Lowdown. Which is fortunate. Because, believe us, you do not want to see all of

SPONSORED: Public-private hospital partnerships and their utmost importance to our state

Funding for Louisiana’s public-private hospital partnerships is in question, and it could have a dramatic effect on healthcare in Louisiana.

A Conversation With House Clerk Butch Speer

Jeremy Alford: So… Now what? House Clerk Butch Speer: Well, it’s true that legislatures all over the country — but this one in particular,

Rabalais: Rodrigue’s Reluctant Legacy

RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY Before George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog made Louisiana’s “I Voted” sticker a hot item, the late artist’s iconic