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Governor's Ball

Honoré Abstains; Vitter, Angelle, Dardenne, Edwards Still In



The national political stage has been lit up by declarations of candidacy. In Louisiana, we do things a bit different. The big news this week is who is not running. Lt. General Russel Honoré (ret.) will not be tossing his hat in the rink. That leaves the heavily favored Senator David Vitter running against LA House Minority Leader John Bel Edwards, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, and Scott Angelle.

 

In a statement released on Wednesday (7.01), Honoré said, “I want to continue to serve the people of Louisiana, as an advocate for the government we all deserve. . . but after nearly four decades as a loyal and proud soldier serving our country, after much thought and reflection over the past several weeks, I've concluded that I can best continue to serve the state I love by, not by becoming a politician and running for governor, but by working with the good people of Louisiana to reorder our political priorities and hold all of our elected officials accountable to the people they swear to serve.”

 

The former military man singled out tax policy, infrastructure, and dubious politicians as three issues in need of attention. Honoré reiterated his vow to continue advocating on behalf of these causes during the election writing, “I look forward to spending the coming weeks before our statewide elections encouraging our citizens to become actively engaged in examining the records and policy platforms of the candidates for governor and the legislature.”

 

The move increases the odds for Republican David Vitter. Vitter has served as national legislator since 1999, first in the House and then the Senate. His early time in the Beltway was relatively banal earning him the nickname “the silent senator.” However, with the rise of the Tea Party, he became more vocal in later years, railing against the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, and the auto industry bailout. As the gubernatorial election grew closer, the Senator pivoted towards the center and co-sponsored onto several pieces of bipartisan legislation including the Gleason Law (to help fight ACL), the Fed Accountability Act (with liberal darling Elizabeth Warren), and the STRONG Patents Act.

 

Despite his push for public schools to teach abstinence, Vitter was embroiled in sex scandals in 2002 and 2007. The 2002 fiasco torpedoed his last attempt at the mansion in Baton Rouge.

 

Dardenne is the current Lt. Governor after serving as Secretary of State and as a state Senator. In the legislature, he built reputation as a reformer and successfully fought for constitutional amendments tackling term limits, coastal erosion, and victims' rights. The Lt. Governor has been a successful mouthpiece for tourism. His noted sense of humor has helped in that cause, not to mention helping him win a pun contest. (The jokes run in the family; Dardenne’s son is a comedian in L.A.)

 

Scott Angelle is a Democrat turned Republican who served as Lt. Governor for six months as well as Secretary of the Department of Natural Resource, and then  Public Services Commissioner. He was an outspoken critic of the drilling moratorium that followed the Deepwater Horizon disaster. His campaign has criticized Common Core and prided themselves on promoting second amendment rights. Despite respect within the corridors of power he is viewed as the longshot candidate.

 

John Bel Edwards is the only Democrat in the race and clearly the party’s heir-apparent. A West Point grad, he has represented the 72nd District in Baton Rouge since 2008 and currently chairs the Louisiana House Democratic Caucus. Edwards’ name has been at the top of the blue list since the last gubernatorial election and the Democrats have fallen in line behind the leader. However, polls consistently show him trailing Vitter by double digits.

 

Louisiana employs the “jungle primary” system. That means if one candidate fails to clear 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election between the top two finishers is held.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

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Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


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Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

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