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By Jeremy Alford (JJA@LaPolitics.com) & Sarah Gamard (Sarah@LaPolitics.com

October 17, 2017 — Issue No. 118

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An astounding 86.5 percent of Louisiana’s registered population didn’t vote during this past weekend’s statewide elections.

The math is a little depressing, but it’s worth a spin on the abacus. It basically means that 400,000 voters collectively called the shots for Louisiana’s entire electorate, which numbers around 2.9 million voters.

The story was a little different in Orleans Parish, which had a number of municipal races on the ballot, like its contest for mayor. The 31.8 percent turnout enjoyed there was higher than the statewide average, but also lower than many local politicos had hoped.

Still, there were lessons to be learned:

— If voters are unable to engage with an election, they will pass on it altogether. There were 4,200 more votes cast for the first proposed constitutional amendment than for treasurer, even though the statewide election had placement at the top of every ballot. In Orleans Parish only, about 7,700 more voters made choices for mayor than they did for treasurer.

— The so-called “Alphabet Groups” in New Orleans aren’t what they used to be. These are community-level organizations, identified by their acronyms, that publish sample ballots and turn out traditional Democratic voters. The campaign of state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, spent at least $58,000 underwriting such efforts in Orleans Parish. He ended up statistically tied at 12 percent there with his closest GOP opponent, former state Rep. John Schroder of Covington, who advanced to the runoff.

— A regional base is critical for statewide candidates, especially for Democrats. Attorney Derrick Edwards landed the other runoff spot in the treasurer’s race thanks in large part to the 46,122 votes he received in his home parish of Orleans. No other candidate came close to that kind of regional pull, save Schroder, who received 14,820 votes from Jefferson Parish and another 14,906 from St. Tammany. (That’s why both of those parishes have become crown jewels in the standard Republican playbook.)

— Edwards, without the endorsement of the state party, showed us what could be the floor for Democrats running statewide. He received about 125,500 votes from across the state after spending very little money in a low turnout election. While an inflated turnout in Orleans may skew that analysis, the Big Easy only had the third highest turnout for the treasurer’s race, behind Pointe Coupee and St. James parishes.

— There are many different ways to increase turnout. Former U.S. Sen. David Vitter discovered one in the late 1990’s when he first ran for Congress. And Schroder mimicked the move earlier this year when he resigned his seat in the state House, thus forcing a special legislative election in his own district at the same time he would be running for higher office.

— It was a huge primary night for Dr. Craig Greene of Baton Rouge, who is about to become the newest member of the Public Service Commission. He managed to capture 54 percent of the vote in a massive district by besting two former legislators in the first round. His political brand will be one to watch.

— State Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, will be stuck in Baton Rouge for a little longer. He lost his Jefferson Parish Council bid to Dominick Impastato, 57 percent to 43 percent. Putting aside a longtime legislator like Martiny was a serious political accomplishment for Impastato’s team.

— State Rep. Joe Bouie, D-New Orleans, is also going to be stuck in Baton Rouge for the time being. He and his other fellow challengers lost a New Orleans City Council race to state Rep. Helena Moreno. (That also means there is going to be another special election for the Legislature, in House District 93.)

Ken Brass, the vice chairman of the St. James Parish Council, is the new state representative in House District 58. He took down three opponents, including the son of a former legislator, in the primary with 57 percent of the vote. It sounds like Brass could be around for the long haul.

— The special election in St. Tammany’s House District 77 remains unresolved, with retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness and Covington City Councilman Mark Wright in the runoff. If nothing else, it looks like the district is about to produce another solid conservative vote.

— With former Judge Desiree Charbonnet and Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell in the runoff for mayor of New Orleans, history is about to be made. No matter how you slice it, the city is going to elect its first woman mayor soon. (But first it’s going to have to survive what promises to be a rough and rowdy runoff.)

In summary, at least we walked away from the 2017 primary knowing that an election can be very low on turnout, but still high on lessons learned. And in conclusion, it would be nice nonetheless to see more people participating in the process. Because 13.5 percent turnout for a statewide election is a lesson no one wants to learn twice.

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Political History: When The Majority Leader Vanished

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the strange disappearance of U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, a proud son of Louisiana.

Boggs was last seen on Oct. 16, 1972, boarding a twin‐engine Cessna 310 that was making its way from Anchorage to Juneau. He was joined by the pilot, Alaska Congressman Nick Begich and Begich’s aide. Boggs, for his part, was on his way to speak to a group of Democrats at a fundraising dinner.

The New York Times reported this the following day:

Mr. Boggs was first elected to Congress in 1941 and, at 26, was the youngest Democrat in the 77th Congress. He was defeated for re‐election two years later and joined the Navy, serving for four years. He returned and was elected to the House in 1946. He became the House whip in 1956 and majority leader in 1971. Throughout his 14 terms in Congress, Representative Boggs has tended to support liberal domestic legislation and voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a move that did not increase his popularity with some constituents.

Boggs, 58, had served 28 years in Congress and was expected to move up to House speaker around the time that his plane disappeared. Many forget, but Boggs was also a member of the Warren Commission, which President Lyndon B. Johnson charged to investigate the JFK assassination. (Related video can be viewed above.)

Boggs was still re-elected the next month, even though he was presumed dead. A few months later, his wife Lindy Boggs, who was previously featured in The Tracker’s history feature, took over his seat in Congress.

A Message From Harris, Deville & Associates:

A GAME OF DRONES

Dow recently sponsored the Game of Drones Challenge with West Baton Rouge Schools. More than 80 students took part in the first-of-its kind event in Louisiana, which was held in celebration of Manufacturing Day℠. Every year the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) designates a day in October to be Manufacturing Day℠, a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

Hosted in the gym of Brusly High School, Port Allen High School and Brusly High School teams from the Dow STEM Academy competed on the Game of Drones playing field. Using drones, the students competed in challenges similar to the hit HBO TV Series, Game of Thrones. The students were assisted by Dow Aviation employees, who spoke of the importance of drones in the manufacturing industry. More than ever, drones are being used to assist manufacturers in plant operations.

Both schools’ participants won drones that they can take back to their schools for further educational activities. In addition they established relationships with Dow’s commercial pilots and Dow’s STEM Ambassadors.

To learn more about Manufacturing Day, visit www.mfgday.com. To learn more about manufacturing careers at Dow, visit www.careersatdow.com.

LaPolitics Weekly Recap

Here are the headlines subscribers to LaPolitics Weekly received five days ago:

Angele Davis campaign spending money to promote Derrick Edwards…

— She’s also attacking Neil Riser, who is attacking John Schroder

— See the last-minute mail…

— Hear the 11th hour robocalls…

— How to make NOLA’s alphabet groups a statewide issue…

— LCRM hits hard in House District 77…

John Bel Edwards to meet with Caddo sheriff…

JBE’s tour coming to an end…

— Fiscal cliff report likely in early November…

— LABI is getting a super PAC…

Garret Graves thinks Cajuns are endangered…

Danny Martiny-Dominick Impastato update…

— Anti-Sidney Torres ad hits airwaves…

— Press association under new management…

Mitch Landrieu picks his horses…

— A touch of polling…

For 24 years LaPolitics Weekly has been Louisiana's premier trade publication for elected officials, lobbyists, campaign professionals, journalists and other politicos. Become a part of this elite community by subscribing today!

LOWDOWN VIDEO: Zombies & Daredevils

We've got election zombies and political daredevils in this latest episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown.

See how Louisiana lost a half million voters and learn why Congressman Ralph Abraham is an adrenaline junkie.

Plus a bit of political Mardi Gras news out of Washington and Baton Rouge. (You do not want to miss that!)

Visit the Lowdown page at LaPolitics for more.

Two Generations Of Lobbying

Episode 22 of Season 2 has two guests from Spradely & Spradley, a government relations firm in Baton Rouge. They are Tom and Matt Spradley, father-and-son lobbyists.

Tom shares what it was like getting into the business in the 1970s, when lobbyists could actually be found voting the machines of lawmakers. Matt offers more of an updated take, reflecting on his own introduction to the Capitol during the Jindal-JBE era.

Plus we kick off this new episode by looking back at two of Louisiana’s best-known political investigations, Brilab and the Louisiana Hayride scandals.

We’ll send out our usual email tomorrow, but you’ll also be able to find The LaPolitics Report on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and LaPolitics.com.

Angele Davis For The State Senate?

When you run better than expected in a statewide race and pull 41 percent in your own Senate District 16 — against five opponents, one of which was swimming in money — chatter is bound to happen.

LaPolitics subscribers are reporting it’s actually happening right now with former commissioner of administration Angele Davis, who’s being urged to consider a legislative seat next term.

Davis, of course, missed the runoff for treasurer this past weekend by 9,561 votes.

Senate District 16 would be an open seat in 2019. It’s currently occupied by Sen. Dan Claitor.

Political Chatter

— The Louisiana Family Forum is asking its members to contact U.S. Sen. John Kennedy to support Kyle Duncan for the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Kennedy sits on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.)

— On the consulting side of things this past weekend, Lionel Rainey of LR3 Consulting and Public Relations emerged with some big wins for his portfolio. Rainey managed the campaign of former state Rep. John Schroder, who is now the heavy favorite in the runoff for treasurer. (His firm also produced the “Party’s Over” ad that Schroder sunk more than $400,000 into at the close of the primary.) Additionally, Rainey managed the campaign of Dr. Craig Greene, who, as mentioned above, bested two former legislators in the primary to become the newest member of the Public Service Commission.

— NOLA LAWSUIT: “New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and 10 of his top prosecutors were accused of coercing reluctant witnesses with heavy-handed arrest warrants and bogus subpoenas in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.” The TP’S Ken Daley has the story

NOLA TURNOUT, according to Richard Rainey: “The runoff campaigns are likely to go negative, a tactic that doesn’t drive voters to the polls but instead works to persuade undecided voters who may vote for an opponent to stay on their couches on Election Day.”

— Congressional aide Michael Willis’ BAD JOKE OF THE WEEK: “Why can't a pirate say the alphabet? He always gets lost at the sea!”

— Nov. 10 will mark the official ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park in Baton Rouge, right across from the State Capitol. (Through this year’s SCR 60, the grounds around the Old Arsenal Museum will be designated as the Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park.)

— Dr. Loren Scott will present his “Louisiana Economic Outlook” for 2018-2019 at a luncheon to be held at the Granberry Conference Center on the Louisiana College campus on Monday, Oct. 23.  The lunch is presented by Cleco, in partnership with the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and North Rapides Business and Industry Alliance.

— Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Rebekah Gee has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. EDWARDS: “The passion Rebekah brings to her job and to meeting the healthcare needs of Louisiana residents is unmatched...She’s been instrumental in cutting Louisiana’s uninsured rate in half to nearly 12 percent, and we have seen significant decrease in infant mortality under her watch.”

— Gov. John Bel Edwards on Puerto Rico: “I am proud of our state for working together to help in the recovery efforts because we know how much assistance during times of despair can bolster resilience when it is needed most.”

Liz Butler is the Louisiana Insurance Department’s new chief of staff. PRESS RELEASE

— We hope you haven’t forgotten the fiscal cliff. JBE hit Monroe to warn more businesses this week.

— The Lens has tallied up the New Orleans election votes by precinct in some nifty maps.

— Dr. Craig Greene, the newly elected public service commissioner, has hired David Kantrow as his executive assistant. PRESS RELEASE

— Rep. Gary Carter: "We will not make criminal justice decisions based on the availability of an inmate to wash the [Caddo Parish Sheriff’s] car or cook in his kitchen. The inmates do not exist to serve at Sheriff Prator's pleasure. His comments exposed a thought process that helps explain why Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and it is time for that to end."

— The Louisiana Primary Care Association has named Sen. Bret Allain its 2017 “Legislative Champion of the Year.”

— Reps. Ted James and Tanner Magee are the co-chairs of the new Louisiana Future Caucus. It’s part of Millennial Action Project’s national movement of “young elected officials breaking through partisan gridlock to reestablish political cooperation.”

JAMES: “I’m honored to...work to find new and innovative ways to tackle political issues that are important to younger generations.”

MAGEE: “I’m thrilled...to ensure that the concerns of millennials are a priority when the Louisiana House of Representatives sets its agenda each session.”

— Allergic to pets? You can still adopt a catch basin. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the new program.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to Chaplain Lt. Joseph Verbis Lafleur in Opelousas this morning.

— The Power Coalition and VOTE are hosting a candidate forum on public safety tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at the Corpus Christi Epiphany Community Center in New Orleans. PRESS RELEASE

— The Energy Summit is all day tomorrow at LSU. REGISTER

— Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is hosting his first annual golf tournament Oct. 19 in Springfield.

— ContactUSA has made Louisiana Problem Gamblers Helpline the first accredited gamblers helpline in the country.

— The LABI Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are hosting a seminar on child-care access in the workforce tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Baton Rouge Hilton.

— Emerge Louisiana, which trains Democratic women to run for office, is hosting its launch celebration on Nov. 2 in New Orleans. RSVP

— The Federal Aviation Administration named the MSY the second-fastest growing airport in America in the past decade.

— The Bureau of Governmental Research is on the lookout for nominations for the 2018 Excellence in Government Awards. MORE INFO

Terence D’Souza and Joseph Reynolds have been appointed to the Louisiana Medical Advisory Board.

Antoinette Bankston was appointed to the Human Trafficking Prevention Commission Advisory Board.

Political tidbit? Let us know about it at news@LaPolitics.com!

Have a fundraiser or event? Send it to news@LaPolitics.com!

Career move? Political appointment? Send word to news@LaPolitics.com!

The Beltway Beat

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy to Gov. Edwards: “Top quality health care for our people is extraordinarily important. (No reasonable person has ever described Medicaid as “top quality,” but we can discuss that another time). So, however, are other things, like elementary and secondary education, higher education, TOPS, roads and public safety. The massive, unchecked spending increases in Medicaid are crowding out spending on these other priorities.  We need to do something about it.” LETTER

— In case the governor didn’t read it, Kennedy also made a video. WATCH

CASSIDY on the healthcare executive order: “President Trump is committed to helping the families and businesses harmed by Obamacare. I will continue to work with him on solutions like Graham-Cassidy that will return power back to the patient.”

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy has also released a Q&A sheet on the order. READ

JOHNSON: “While I agree with the president’s sense of urgency, a permanent solution requires Congressional action. We must act swiftly and decisively to restore stability in the market place in support of today’s announcement.”

— The entire delegation wrote to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about Louisiana’s supply vessels that can help Puerto Rico and Caribbean relief efforts. LETTER

HIGGINS, on FEMA granting disaster declaration for parishes hit by Harvey: "This disaster declaration for Louisiana is righteous and long overdue...My office has worked tirelessly to highlight this need, ensuring that Louisiana isn’t absent from the conversation about hurricane relief.”

— CASSIDY: “We thank President Trump for this declaration and for making Public Assistance funds available to help Louisiana communities recover. The Louisiana Delegation will continue to work to make sure Louisiana families have access to the resources they need.”

KENNEDY: “I would like to thank President Trump for directing Public Assistance funds to impacted Parishes in south Louisiana. However, I continue to encourage the President to designate Individual Assistance funds for citizens in Calcasieu Parish. This storm devastated many homes and local businesses, and it’s only right that they have direct access to the tools necessary for rebuilding.”

— The entire delegation wrote to President Donald Trump earlier this week to speed up disaster declaration for parishes hit by Harvey. LETTER

— Congressman Clay Higgins also talked about it on the floor. WATCH

SCALISE on Iran’s nuclear deal: “Iran’s belligerence has not been contained, but the regime is emboldened. Iran’s support for terrorism and its actions in the region have further destabilized the Middle East and expanded its hostile influence...Fortunately, President Trump has outlined a comprehensive strategy to curtail Iran’s dangerous nuclear ambitions.”

KENNEDY on the NFL: “There are some cops who make mistakes, and sometimes it’s intentional...They’re a vast minority...If you hate cops just because they’re cops, then the next time you get in trouble, call a crackhead.” WATCH

JOHNSON on prayer in Congress: “I am thankful for the court’s decision invalidating this latest atheist challenge to our cherished tradition...I look forward to continuing to start our work in Congress each day as our founders did, with a prayer to God.”

— New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on immigration: “[The] NOPD will not be the federal government’s deportation force.”

Landrieu to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Instead of fear-mongering and false accusations, we urge you to work with mayors across the nation to tackle violent crime through smart, evidence-based policing.” LETTER

A Message From Harris, Deville & Associates:

SASOL HIRES 500TH EMPLOYEE

Sasol announced last week the company hired its 500th employee for its $11 billion ethane cracker and derivatives project in Calcasieu Parish and expects to hire at least an additional 200 employees over the next two years to support its new operations, resulting in 700 new jobs. This is in addition to the more than 450 full-time positions that support Sasol’s existing operations near Westlake. An additional 1,000 permanent contractors will also support Sasol’s East and West Plants once new units reach beneficial operation.

Sasol partnered with Louisiana Community and Technical College System and SOWELA Technical Community College to develop new programs locally for high demand jobs such as laboratory analysts, inspections and a fast-track process technology program. The company also worked with Louisiana Workforce Commission and its Calcasieu Parish Business and Career Solutions Center to create a specialized online pre-application to meet local industry needs.

Sasol will begin a phased commissioning of the seven new units in 2018. As of June 2017, overall project completion reached 74 percent. See the image below.

Happy Birthday, Trackers!

— Tuesday 10/17: Steve Duke and Kevin Gallagher

— Wednesday 10/18: Paul Hardy, Connie Caldwell, Kodi Wilson and Robert Morris

— Thursday 10/19: Carly Laing, Lunden Chenevert, David Melville and Kelli Braud

— Friday 10/20: Sen. Blade Morrish, Rep. Robby Carter, Jerry Denton and Heath Hattaway

— Saturday 10/21: Jean Armstrong, John Snow and Tara Pleasant Saxon

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

— Monday 10/23: Former Sen. Ben Nevers, Hayden Haynes, Ann Silverberg Williamson and Wendy Waren

— Who We Missed: Karl Connor (Oct. 12) and Kevin Bruce (Oct. 12)

Anniversaries & Weddings

— Rep. Joe Stagni and Denise celebrated their anniversary last Thursday.

Karl Connor and his wife Monika toasted to four years of bliss on Oct. 12.

Trey Williams and his wife Anne celebrated 16 years last week.

Yvette Cravins and her husband Don Jr. marked 20 years together last Wednesday.

Birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, you name it. We want to know about your special day. Send those dates to news@LaPolitics.com!

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Got a hot tip? Send it to news@LaPolitics.com!