The Tuesday Tracker Sponsored By Harris, DeVille & Associates

October 16, 2018 — Issue No. 161

By Jeremy Alford (

& Mitch Rabalais






“You know when the hottest political story going is the voting machines, there’s a problem.”

That take on this year’s lone statewide election was offered up last week  by an unnamed Capitol insider. (Hey, who doesn’t know one or two?) 

The candidates for secretary of state, however, are finally stepping up to claim the narrative =, after months of stockpiling money for last-last-minute media buys.

On Monday morning, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin dropped a 30-second spot and fired the first shots. The ad, “Fighting for You,” and focuses on election security. It name-checks some of the GOP’s favorite bogeymen, including former President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and billionaire Democratic donor George Soros

“I’ll fight them all —  and win,” Ardoin says in the spot, which is part of an initial $175,000 statewide media buy. 

Close behind him was Rep. Rick Edmonds, who rolled out his own 30-second commercial Monday afternoon. While also emphasizing election security, Edmonds took somewhat of a different tone than Ardoin, instead using his endorsement from Sen. Sharon Hewitt as an indicator of his conservative bonafides. 

In the ad, Hewitt appears alongside Edmonds, telling voters, “He’s voted to protect your wallet and I have no doubt that he will fight to protect your ballot.” According to the Associated Press, the ad is one of four that Edmonds will be using in an initial $50,000 media buy. 

All eyes are now on Rep. Julie Stokes, who leads the field on the money front with a nearly $500,000 war chest. Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud is expected to be on the airwaves soon as well, although her campaign admits they are strategically placing their ads in markets based on internal polling data.  

It remains unclear if former Sen. A.G. Crowe and Renee Fontenot Free, the race’s sole major Democrat, will be venturing onto screens near you.

A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates


HDA congratulates client Sasol who was selected as the winner of the Joe. D. May Excellence in Public Policy Award by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System as part of its annual Impact Awards ceremony held recently in New Orleans.

The LCTCS award recognizes individuals, organizations, and business & industry whose leadership efforts have been notably effective in advancing Louisiana's education and workforce and the needs of our students, businesses and communities.

Sasol’s award acknowledges and celebrates the company’s work with Calcasieu-area colleges and stakeholders toward creating and sponsoring solutions to the area’s workforce needs. SOWELA Technical College's Dr. Neil Aspinwall nominated Sasol for this year’s award, citing the company's outstanding contribution to developing policies, engaging stakeholders and advocating on behalf of the education and workforce needs of Louisiana.

In 2014, Sasol launched the Southwest Louisiana Workforce Resource Guide, which provides local residents with the information and resources they need to get trained and become eligible to work with local businesses. The guide connects users with mentors, career counselors and other critical support services that help give them the best opportunities to succeed.

The following year, Sasol launched the companion Workforce Scholarship Program to provide scholarships and financial assistance to local residents interested in improving their careers to help remove barriers impeding their success. Sasol also provides free monthly Workforce Readiness Training Coursesthat cover topics including career goals and planning, job search strategies and resume and cover letter writing.

To date, more than 13,000 copies of the resource guide have been distributed, more than 300 career mentors have been trained through the model and more than 100 scholarships have been granted for local trade and vocational training programs in addition to skills training, career counseling and other resources provided to participants.

To learn more about the Workforce Resource Guide and Scholarship Program and Sasol’s Corporate Social Investment initiatives, visit Sasol online.

The grocery bag as a campaign device
One of the Bayou State’s most legendary forms of political advertisement — until 1997, at least — couldn’t be found on television or on the radio or on billboards. 
Instead, it was a simple, brown paper grocery bag. 
Starting in the 1970s, New Orleanians brought home their groceries every fall in the paper sacks with big political advertisements printed on the side. They all came from the same place - the Schwegmann chain of supermarkets, which was the ultimate shopping destination for “making groceries” in the Crescent City. 
It is nearly impossible to exaggerate how much of an institution the Schwegmann brand was in New Orleans at the time. In the era before Wal-Mart and Costco, it was the region’s first “mega-store,” offering everything shoppers needed under one roof. It was a local chain stocked with Louisiana products at prices that were unmatched. “It was the breadbasket of the working people, the cheapest place in town for shrimp and okra and Camellia red beans,” wrote the New York Times in 1996. 
John G. Schwegmann, the chain’s founder, was a astute businessman with a taste for politics. Even though managing his grocery empire was a full time job, Schwegmann was not just content with cutting checks for candidates. He wanted to be a political player himself. 
He had near universal name recognition and was associated with a brand beloved by a vast majority of the public. But while he was a groundbreaker in business, Schwegmann’s political skills often left much to be desired. He ran unsuccessfully for Jefferson Parish president, Congress and governor. He did win seats in both houses of the Legislature but was largely ineffective as a lawmaker. 
According to The People’s Grocer, with Schwegmann, the line between his grocery stores and political apparatus was always a bit blurry. In the beginning, he would use space in his weekly store circulars as position papers, writing about his thoughts on political issues. In Schwegmann’s view, why waste money on mailers when you already sent something out weekly to every resident of Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes? 
As time progressed, Schwegmann took it a step further. He would make endorsements in big races and then print ads for his preferred candidates on the side of each bag that his customers used. “Every customer will take home Mr. Schwegmann’s advice on what to do in this election,” said columnist James Gill at the time. 
The idea stuck and political ads would continue to appear on Schwegmann bags until the chain went out of business in 1997.


Snooze time in the House & Senate

Only 21 days remain until voters across the county head to the polls and cast their ballots in the midterm elections, deciding the fate of 435 congressmen and 33 senators. With the countdown clock ticking closer to Nov. 6, Congress has entered its’ traditional pre-voting  holding pattern, waiting on any major action or legislation until after Election Day. 

— The Senate may be officially still in session, but the upper chamber is virtually in recess. Committees largely aren’t meeting and the only floor action is short, procedural sessions that require the presence of only a few members. Most senators are back in their home states working, campaigning or fundraising. 

— The House of Representatives has officially adjourned until after the midterms, releasing their members to hit the campaign trail or attend to work in their districts.

Here’s what is happening with the Louisiana Congressional Delegation…

  • U.S. Senator John Kennedy will be one of the members kept on Capitol Hill, having to attend a meeting of the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. On Friday, he will head back home and visit with students in Denham Springs to discuss the legislative process and conduct a Q&A session.

  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s re-election campaign dropped their first ad in the southeast corner of the Bayou State this weekend. The 30 second spot features Scalise talking candidly about his arduous recovery from an assassination attempt last year and the support he received from his constituents back home. (

  • Congressman Clay Higgins will be campaigning throughout Acadiana this week in his bid for a second term in the House. In addition to Higgins being out and pressing the flesh, his campaign has undertaken a $50,000 media buy, but is not stopping there. Higgins’ consultant, Chris Comeaux, says that there will be “more to come” before Election Day.

  • Congressman Ralph Abraham announced plans to introduce an emergency spending bill when Congress returns. He hopes that the legislation will provide short-term financial relief to farmers effected by trade tariffs. Abraham also will be traveling to Orlando, Florida this week - but not for a trip to Disney World - he is the keynote speaker for the National Business Aviation Association’s convention.
  • Congressman Garret Graves will be spending Tuesday at LSU, addressing a Student Veterans luncheon before going over to the Manship School of Mass Communication to participate in a forum on youth issues in Louisiana. On Wednesday, he will be speaking to the Society of American Military Engineers in New Orleans.

Political tidbit? Let us know about it at!

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Here are the headlines subscribers to LaPolitics Weekly received in the issue that was published five days ago:

— How the 2019 governor’s race is already shaping up 

— Rispone is at the gate and ready to go 

— What’s next for Hewitt, Landry and Wags 

— The big decision for Ralph Abraham 

— The “dirty rice” connection between Abraham and EWE  

— Sen. Rick Ward making moves in the upper chamber 

— The Whip is making it rain for the GOP 

— Could this be the beginning of the end for TV advertising  

— JBE going to Israel, Amanda Shaw and judgeships in our “Field Notes!” segment

— The SOS race leads our “They Said It” feature 

— Plus more!

A Message From Harris, DeVille & Associates

The Chemical Industry Powers Calcasieu Parish

Calcasieu Parish has the largest number chemical industry workers in Louisiana, according to a study conducted by noted economist Loren Scott. With 4,928 jobs in the parish, the chemical industry pays more than $541 million in household earnings – the highest in the entire state.

Even further, for every job created in the industry, another 8.3 jobs are created elsewhere. These jobs are the small business owners, construction workers and other industry-adjacent opportunities that grow along with chemical investments. It is clear the chemical industry is the economic engine that powers Southwest Louisiana.

Part of the industry’s success can be contributed to the Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), which incentivizes companies to build or expand in a particular area. This program has benefitted the parish through job growth, economic input and community investments. In the next four years, as ITEP contracts expire, Calcasieu Parish will see more than $1.3 billion come onto the property tax rolls. This money will go towards public school education, roads and other public services.

Do you support industry in Calcasieu Parish? The Southwest Louisiana Hometown Industry Day is the perfect opportunity to meet industry workers, leaders and elected officials from the area to learn more about the industry’s impact and how you can support future growth in the area. The event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the West-Cal Arena & Events Center. To RSVP, visit

Supporting a larger chemical industry in Louisiana means creating a stronger economy for Calcasieu Parish.


— U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue will soon be sporting a purple and gold tie to show his support for the LSU Tigers. The wardrobe choice comes as the outcome of a bet between Purdue, a former governor of Georgia, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise over last Saturday’s LSU-Georgia game. 

— After parodying U.S. Sen. John Kennedy for two weeks in a row, NBC’s Saturday Night Live is taking another crack at Bayou State politics with a new sketch, "Bayou Benny's Liberal Lagniappe.”

— The Times-Pic: “The number of state boards and commissions in Louisiana is the highest it has been since 2014, according a report released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor Monday.”  

— AIN’T NO SUNSHINE: DOTD says that the Sunshine Bridge in Ascension Parish could be closed for months as crews repair damage done by a barge that collided with the bridge over the weekend. 

— At their Monday meeting, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted 3-2 to allow alcohol sales on Sundays. 

— @MelindaDeslatte: “@lsuprez wants the Board of Regents to revisit its minimum admissions policy/requirements.” 

— Congressional aide Michael Willis’ BAD JOKE OF THE WEEK: Where do sheep's get their hair cut? The baaaa-baaaa shop!


— Tuesday 10/16: John GeorgesJim UrdialesDarryl Gissel and Kathy Edmonton 

— Wednesday 10/17: Steve Duke and Kevin Gallagher 

— Thursday 10/18: former Lt. Gov. Paul HardyConnie CaldwellKodi Wilson and Robert Morris

— Friday 10/19: Carly LaingLunden ChenevertDavid Melville and Kelli Braud 

— Saturday 10/20: Sen. Blade Morrish, Rep. Robbie CarterJerry Denton and Heath Hattaway

— Sunday 10/21: Jean ArmstrongJohn Snow and Tara Pleasant 

— Monday 10/22: Penny Berthelot Bouquet and Judy McCleary 

— WHO WE MISSED: Jason French (Oct. 7) 

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Copyright © 2018
Jeremy Alford/Louisiana Political Review
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