SSP Daily Digest: 1/10

CT-Sen: Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy is sounding very likely to challenge Joe Lieberman in 2012, at least if this WSJ piece primarily on Lieberman’s re-election chances is any indication. It quotes Murphy as “definitely considering” the race and says his decision may be only weeks away, given the nature of permanent campaigning these days. Meanwhile, Paulist economist Peter Schiff (whose rather quixotic bid wound up with him deep in third place in the GOP primary in 2010) is saying he’d like to run for office again, but 2012 won’t be the year, citing the likelihood of a Linda McMahon run and his inability to compete against her money. Finally, Lieberman himself has his mind on his money and his money on his mind, too… he’s hungry enough for money that he’s reaching out to his new friends from the No Labels movement and asking them to consider donating to politicians they don’t necessarily agree with. Interesting argument (especially considering that the No Labels people are probably the likeliest people out there to agree with Lieberman).

MA-Sen: Long-time Boston mayor Tom Menino has occasionally gotten some coverage as a possible opponent to Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race, but he’s taking his name out of consideration, saying he’ll never run for anything but even more terms as mayor. Menino also offered some warnings to potential Dem candidates about the race, saying “There’s nobody that can beat him.” (Recall that Menino caught some flak for not really deploying the Boston Dem machine full-force on Martha Coakley’s behalf during the special election, so it’s unclear whether he’s truly fearful of Brown or just engaging in a little concern trolling on Brown’s behalf.)

MI-Sen: Here’s another indicator (after last month’s PPP poll that had her mired in the 40s) that Debbie Stabenow could have a tough race in 2012, given the right GOP opponent. A Glengariff Group poll for the Detroit News doesn’t include any head-to-heads, but gives her 37/39 approvals, and a 23% definite re-elect (vs. 43% someone new). Of course, the GOP will need to cough up someone more imposing than Tim Leuliette, the only publicly interested candidate so far.

MN-Sen: I hadn’t heard Rep. John Kline (the GOP Rep. in MN-02, who labors in right-wing anonymity thanks to a lot of cover from noisy neighbor Michele Bachmann) get associated with the 2012 Senate race before, and after today, he probably won’t again. He told a talk radio interview over the weekend that his “plate was full.”

MT-Sen: There’s been an uptick in speculation that Denny Rehberg may not run for Senate after all, given that he just landed a slot as not just one of the Appropriations cardinals (regarded by Beltway insiders as the uppermost tier in the House pantheon) but the subcommittee chair in charge of HHS, letting him carry the banner on any HCR repeal efforts. However, he’s still being coy about his 2012 plans (and in fact getting a little meta about the endless Beltway media parsing of political career planning), saying a decision is “down the road… which is similar to around the corner.”

NE-Sen: This has been pretty clearly telegraphed for a while now, but Republican state treasurer Don Stenberg is saying he’s “quite likely” to get into the Senate race. That, of course, would set up a high-profile primary with another statewide GOPer already a formal candidate, AG Jon Bruning. Meanwhile, GOP state party chair Mark Fahnelson removed an image from his personal blog of Ben Nelson inside a red bullseye. In good Republican fashion, he reaffirmed that he himself, in fact, was the victim in all this.

NV-Sen: Hoping for Sue Lowden to be the 2012 Senate nominee for the GOP? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, because she’s saying she won’t consider running if Dean Heller is going to run (she would do it only if both John Ensign and Heller didn’t run). Rather candidly, she admitted that she had no shot of beating Heller in a GOP primary. Meanwhile, Sharron Angle has decided that, having had a shot at the big time, another run for the state Senate would just be chicken feed at this point. She says that she won’t seek the seat being vacated by resigning former GOP floor leader Bill Raggio (to whom she lost in a 2008 primary), although without saying anything more about another NV-Sen run or a NV-02 run if Heller runs for Senate.

TX-Sen: Here’s another poll showing a Senator who may have a rough go of it in 2012, although in Kay Bailey Hutchison’s case, the real hurdle is likely to be the GOP primary. A Blum & Weprin poll for various Texas newspapers found Hutchison with a 46% approval among all registered voters, and only 56% among Republicans. Hutchison, of course, has not given any indication whether she’s running for another term or not.

LA-Gov: That gubernatorial election is only 10 months away, and Louisiana Democrats still seem to standing around scratching their heads wondering who their nominee will be. With GOP incumbent Bobby “Kenneth the Page” Jindal sitting on a $7.2 million war chest and, while not super-humanly popular anymore, still in positive territory, willing victims do not seem forthcoming. Dems seem most interested in somebody who can self-finance, which would probably be oft-rumored Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard, although other more remote possibilities include losing Lt. Gov. candidate Caroline Fayard, PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell (who finished 3rd in the 2007 primary), retired Gen. Russell Honore (who was briefly the subject of speculation for a GOP primary challenge to David Vitter last year), and even a return engagement from ex-Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

AZ-08: Best wishes to Gabby Giffords for what will no doubt be a long, slow recovery after this weekend’s shooting. Physicians say that she is rapidly improving and may be removed from her breathing apparatus in several days if progress continues.

ND-AL: This has implications for North Dakota’s House seat, but also potentially for the Senate seat in 2012, if Kent Conrad (last seen ramping up to start advertising already) does a sudden turnaround and opts for retirement. Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (who’s 58) is joining DC law firm Alston & Bird and says “I don’t see myself running for office again.”

NM-02: Similarly, Harry Teague has announced that he won’t run again for his old seat or anything else, saying he has no plans to seek another office. The 61-year-old (and independently wealthy) Teague plans to return to his family oilfield business.

Mayors: Another day, another poll showing Rahm Emanuel way in the lead (albeit not out of runoff territory yet). This one’s from Anzalone-Liszt on behalf of the Teamsters, and while it shows Carol Mosely Braun gaining ground (thanks to dropouts from Danny Davis and James Meeks), she’s still far behind. It’s Emanuel 42, Mosely Braun 26, Gerry Chico 10, and Miguel Del Valle 7. (November’s Teamster poll was Emanuel 36, Mosely Braun 13, Chico 10.) Meanwhile, Chico can now boast an endorsement from Rep. Luis Gutierrez, which seems like a bit of a thumbed-nose at Emanuel (who used to be Gutierrez’s neighbor in the House). And on the other side of the country, San Francisco has a newly-minted interim mayor: city administrator Ed Lee, who will fill in for the next 10 months as Gavin Newsom becomes Lt. Governor. The main thing that clinched it for Lee (who will be the city’s first Asian-American mayor) was his promise not to run for the job in the November election. One of Newsom’s last acts was to appoint a new DA in San Francisco, too (to replace the state’s new AG, Kamala Harris): he promoted police chief George Gascon to that job.

WATN?: Where are they now? On the prison bus, that’s where. At least that’s the case with former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, just sentenced this morning to three years on conspiracy charges associated with laundering corporate money into campaign donations.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/3 (Afternoon Edition)

AR-Sen: Barack Obama is cutting a radio ad in support of Blanche Lincoln as she faces a primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Also on the ad front, here’s an ad that both Lincoln and Halter agree on. Both have condemned the anti-Halter ad from Americans for Job Security as racist; the ad uses Indian actors and backdrops to accuse Halter of having offshored jobs. AJS’s head says he sees nothing wrong with the ad and won’t be pulling it; it’s a big ad buy and scheduled to run for the next two weeks in the leadup to the primary.

KY-Sen: Lots happening in Kentucky, most notably a strange switcheroo by Christian right leader James Dobson. He outright switched his endorsement from Trey Grayson to Rand Paul, blaming GOP insiders for feeding him misinformation about Paul (such as that he was pro-choice). Dobson’s endorsement is bound to help the Paul attract some social conservative voters uneasy about his libertarianism, and also helps paint Grayson as tool of the dread insiders. True to form, Grayson is touting a new endorsement that’s pretty insidery: from Rep. Hal Rogers, the low-profile, long-term Rep. from the state’s Appalachian southeast corner and a key pork-doling Appropriations member. Grayson is also touting his own internal poll, which shows Paul and Grayson deadlocked at 40-40, contrary to, well, every public poll of the race.

LA-Sen, LA-LG: Here’s the first non-Rasmussen poll of Louisiana we’ve seen in a while, not that it has Charlie Melancon in a particularly better position.  It was conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research on behalf of businessman Lane Grigsby (a wealthy meddler in Republican politics, last seen swaying LA-06 in 2008 with hundreds of thousands of IEs from his own pocket). Vitter leads Melancon 49-31, and Vitter has 55/36 favorables. It also seems to be the first poll to take a look at the Republican all-party jungle primary in the developing Lt. Governor’s race (created by Mitch Landrieu’s election as New Orleans mayor). State Treasurer John Kennedy (the ex-Dem and loser of the 2008 Senate race) leads the pack at 21, followed by SoS Jay Dardenne at 15, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell at 14, St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis at 6, and state GOP chair Roger Villere at 2. (Kennedy and Campbell, however, haven’t announced their candidacies yet.) (H/t Darth Jeff).

NC-Sen: PPP has one last look at the Democratic primary in the Senate race, although this one may well be going into overtime (someone needs to break 40% to avoid a top-two runoff). They find Elaine Marshall leading Cal Cunningham 28-21 (a bigger spread than her 26-23 lead one week ago). Kenneth Lewis is at 9, with assorted others taking up another 9%. PPP also polls on the potential runoff, finding Marshall would beat Cunningham in a runoff 43-32 (as Lewis’s voters would break to Marshall by a 47-32 margin).

NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte seems to be leaving any “moderate” pretenses in the dust, as she just came out in favor of Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigrant law. (Of course, New Hampshire is one of the whitest and least Hispanic states in that nation, so it still may not wind up hurting her much.)

NV-Sen: Research 2000, for Daily Kos, came out with a poll of the Nevada Senate race last Friday. Nothing unusual here, inasmuch as they find Harry Reid not looking as DOA as Rasmussen always does, though there are still lots of flies circling around him. Reid’s faves are 37/53, and he trails Sue Lowden 45-41 (with 4 for the Tea Party’s Scott Ashjian, 2 for “other,” and 2 for Nevada’s unique “None of the Above” line). He also trails Danny Tarkanian 43-41 and Sharron Angle 44-41. Despite Lowden getting low marks for her chicken bartering proposals (14/81 approval of that, including 27/68 among Republicans), she still has 42/34 favorables overall and is leading the way in the GOP primary, although perhaps by a narrowing margin: she’s at 38, to 28 for Tarkanian, 13 for Angle, and 12 for “other,” with 9 undecided.

OH-Sen: One last poll sneaked under the finish line before tomorrow’s Democratic primary in the Ohio Senate race. Quinnipiac finds last-minute momentum for Lee Fisher (in the wake of actually spending some money on TV ads): he leads Jennifer Brunner 43-23. It pretty much seems to depend on name rec (which, in turns, depends on ads): Fisher has 44/8 favorables among likely primary voters, while Brunner is at 26/7 (with 65% having no opinion of her).

AZ-Gov: I hadn’t been aware until today that controversial Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was still seriously considering a run in the GOP gubernatorial primary (especially since, with Jan Brewer signing the anti-illegal immigrant law into effect, his main raison d’etre to challenge her was gone). At any rate, after making a big show of “major announcement today!” he then issued a brief press release saying that he wasn’t going to run.

CA-Gov: Meg Whitman is treading carefully in the wake of the Arizona immigration law’s passage, probably mindful of the California GOP’s short-term gains but long-term ruin in the wake of Proposition 187. Meg Whitman came out against it (while primary opponent Steve Poizner supports it), perhaps an indication that she feels safe enough to start charting a moderate course for the general election.

CT-Gov: Two interesting developments in Connecticut: one, former HartStamford mayor Dan Malloy, Ned Lamont’s main Democratic primary opposition, will qualify for public financing of his campaign. This will help Malloy compete on a somewhat more level playing field against Lamont, who can self-finance. Also, the Democratic field shrank a little, as one of the minor candidates in the field, Mary Glassman (the First Selectwoman of Simsbury) dropped out and signed on as Lamont’s Lt. Governor running mate instead.

IL-Gov: Democratic running-mate-for-a-day Scott Lee Cohen followed through on earlier threats, and today announced his independent candidacy for Governor. His rationale? “I believe that the people of Illinois have forgiven me.”

MN-Gov: Needless to say, I’m feeling better about our chances in Minnesota, as newly-anointed GOP nominee Tom Emmer is laying down markers way, way outside the Minnesota mainstream. Turns out he’s a full-on “Tenther,” having recently sponsored state legislation that would purport to nullify all federal laws that are not approved by a two-thirds supermajority in the Minnesota legislature. (He also recently said that the Arizona immigration law was a “wonderful first step.”)

NY-Gov: We’re getting very mixed signals on the Steve Levy campaign for the GOP nomination. On the one hand, Levy is claiming that the RGA is ready to pony up $8 million to $10 million in support of his campaign. On the other hand, state GOP chair Ed Cox, the guy who arm-twisted Levy to get into the race in the first place, is privately expressing worries that Levy won’t get the 50% of county chairs’ endorsements to get the ballot line, and there are rumors that he’s now floating the idea of a Rick Lazio-Steve Levy ticket.    

OH-Gov: Incumbent Dem Gov. Ted Strickland is going on the air starting on primary election day, with a major TV ad buy of 1,000 points each in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton. Strickland has $2 million more cash than John Kasich, so he probably figures now’s the time to use it.

OR-Gov: A variety of polls have popped up of the primaries in Oregon, whose fast-approaching primary is kind of dwarfed by higher-profile affairs in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania on the same day, May 18. Tim Hibbitts (on behalf of Nike and Standard Insurance, in case there was any doubt that Oregon is, in fact, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Phil Knight) found John Kitzhaber firmly in control of the Dem primary, leading Bill Bradbury 50-21. Local TV affiliate KATU also commissioned a poll by SurveyUSA, which was taken in mid-April but they seem to have sat on the results until now. It’s apparently the first public poll of the Republican primary; they find Chris Dudley, who’s been spending heavily on TV time, leading the pack at 28. Allen Alley is at 13, under-indictment Bill Sizemore is at 11, John Lim is at 7, and assorted tea-bagging “others” add up to 8.

UT-Gov: Looks like those rumors that Democratic candidate Peter Corroon was going to pick a Republican running mate were right. Corroon tapped state Rep. Sheryl Allen, one of the legislature’s leading moderate GOPers, as his number two.

OH-17: Insert obligatory “beam me up” joke here! Ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, out of prison, is looking to get back in the game, and he’ll be taking on his former employee, Rep. Tim Ryan, by running as an independent in his old district, the 17th. While there had been rumors that Traficant was also going to file to run in the next-door 6th (as, bizarrely, you can run in multiple different districts in Ohio), but he decided against that. Bear in mind that Traficant already ran against Ryan in the 17th as an independent shortly after his 2002 conviction and House expulsion, but only got 15% in that race.

LA-GOV: Republicans Splinter; Boasso Surges

Crossposted at Daily Kingfish

The coverage of L’Affaire Vitter is just beginning to have its discursive effects: the Republican Party is splintered, and Walter Boasso is experiencing the first phase of what will be an unstoppable surge.  According to an Anzalone-Liszt poll cited by Steven Sabludowsky of The Bayou Buzz,

“Boasso has more than tripled his current vote since May, moving from 6% to 21% with just four weeks of a moderate television buy. Currently Jindal leads with 52%, followed by Boasso (21%), Campbell (6%) and Georges (1%). One-in-five voters are still undecided (21%).

Not only has Boasso moved up 15 points, the undecided vote has increased by 7 points, from 14% to 21%. The Boasso television has softened Jindal and Campbell’s support and moved some of their votes to the undecided column. (Campbell’s support is down to 6%, from 9% in May).”

Walter Boasso educates the voters; Walter Boasso’s numbers grow.  And I imagine they will continue to grow once voters realize “Bobby” Jindal’s misleading message of ethics and change has no real empirical basis.  That Foster Campbell and John Georges are yet to air television commercials should be kept in mind.  In other words, Jindal will find himself in what will be a bitter but entertaining runoff.

Also interesting in Sabludowsky’s article is following report from the Jindal rally in Kenner:

But, after attending the Jindal rally in Kenner Louisiana (a suburb of New Orleans), there was no question that anger was in the air.  One very prominent Republican leader told me off the record that Vitter only cares about himself.  So, why Vitter chose one hour before the Jindal rally escapes many.

Kenner is the base of Jindal and Vitter.  If voters are confused and exasperated in Jefferson Parish, I can only wonder what they are saying in other areas of the state.  I know voters are not terribly pleased with either of the ethically and morally challenged Republicans in my neck of the woods.

Sabludowsky’s claim that Jefferson Parish voters are splintered and upset is corroborated by Jeff Crouère’s discussion of how all the media attention directed to the Vitter press conference in Metairie upset Jindal partisans, as they feel their candidate is entitled to all the coverage.  If this has created a Republican rift as Crouère alleges, Jindal may have a problem consolidating the Republican vote by October.

The Governor’s race is far from over, mes amis.  Georges and Campbell are not yet on the air, and Boasso is still introducing himself to voters.  To use of trite phrase that is the rallying cry of Daily Kingfish: Laissez les bons temps rouler!


LA-GOV: John Georges’s Poll

Crossposted at Daily Kingfish, a Louisiana politics blog by and for Louisiana Democrats

Even though the full results have been made available to the media, the Louisiana GOP refuses to read and to acknowledge a Verne Kennedy poll commissioned by John Georges, Republican candidate for Governor from Metairie.  The poll of 600 Louisianans conducted 29 March through 3 April yielded some interesting results.  According to the Shreveport Times,

When the poll concentrated only on Jindal, Breaux and Georges, the responses to the question about which candidate the respondent would chose if the election were today were 39 percent for Jindal, 30 percent for Breaux and 14 percent for Georges, with 17 percent uncertain.

And they continue,

In the trial heat between Jindal and Breaux, 49 percent chose Jindal and 36 percent Breaux, with 15 percent undecided.

Jindal and the Louisiana GOP thought Jindal would coast to the Governor’s mansion in October.  Jindal has been campaigning throughout the state for months, including making appearances and offering “testimony” in Baptist churches, and the Louisiana GOP daily demonizes every candidate who has announced an intention to run, whether it be Walter Boasso (R-Arabi), John Breaux (D-Crowley) or John Georges, who Roger Villere, Chairman of the Louisiana GOP, calls an “opponent.”  Given all this effort on behalf of Jindal by the Louisiana GOP, one would expect Jindal to be a prohibitive favorite, not a mere favorite, especially since Jindal has been behaving as if he is the heir apparent since Blanco announced her intention to not run for reelection.  49%, in other words, is a weak number for someone who is treated as an incumbent both by the media and by his political party.

The following should also serve as a source of aggravation for an already splenetic Louisiana GOP, especially as Breaux, Campbell, Boasso and Georges are yet to engage in full campaigning:

In a trial heat for governor, when voters were read a list of all possible candidates for governor, the preferences were 39 percent for Jindal, 23 percent for Breaux, 10 percent for Georges, 5 percent for Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, 4 percent for state Treasurer John Kennedy, 2 percent for Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and 1 percent each for state Sen. Walter Boasso and former Attorney General Richard Ieyoub.

Perhaps 39 percent is the highest Jindal can earn with the present field of candidates in the jungle primary.  Yes, Mitch Landrieu, Richard Ieyoub and John Kennedy have not announced and will not announce, but I doubt supporters of John Kennedy and especially Mitch Landrieu and Richard Ieyoub will cast their votes for Jindal.  And I imagine Foster Campbell, Walter Boasso, John Georges and John Breaux will expand their bases once they launch their respective campaigns.  After all, Breaux has not officially announced, and John Georges, who hails fom Jinda’s Congressional district, will, according to, which requires a subscription,

emphasize his similarities on economic and social issues with Republican frontrunner Congressman Bobby Jindal before drawing distinctions in background and ability. “In July, people will look at that and say, ‘He’s just like Bobby.’ Then we will differentiate,” he said.
For instance: “The difference between Bobby and me is I am a decision maker while he is a policy maker,” he said. “Jindal suffers from the same problem Kathleen Blanco does. He waits to see which way the wind is blowing.”

Boasso will chip away at Jindal’s Republican base from the other end, the end of the reformer, the populist.  Here is Boasso’s message:

“It’s the same old people trying to control things,” he said. “They put it out into the public that it was a big consensus. That’s misleading.

“The days when these small groups of insiders determine our future has got to come to an end.”

And Boasso and Georges, both millionaires, will have the money to communicate their respective messages.

Jindal will not have much room to manoeuvre once Boasso and Georges introduce themselves to the public.  Moreover, Foster Campbell (D-Bossier City), former state Senator and current Public Service Commissioner for north Louisiana, will mobilize northern Louisianans and others disenchanted with utility companies and oil interests.  And complicating this is the base Breaux already has despite the Louisiana GOPs coordinated smear campaign, which includes letters to the editors of The Shreveport Times and  The Ouchita Citizen, biased journalism by sympathetic reports, a website and a redundant television ad airing throughout the state of Louisiana. 

Piyush “Bobby” may have to accept the 39% of Verne Kennedy’s poll, which probably explains why Roger Villere is now telling reporters he wants to abolish the jungle primary for state races.  If you cannot force everyone out of the field in the name of a Jindal victory, then I guess the only option left is to change the election process.  Why do Jindal and Villere have such contempt for Louisiana voters and for Louisiana election law?

LA-Gov: John Breaux (D) Will Probably Run

Here is some interesting news from the Cook Political Report:

February 16, 2007

Breaking News: Former Democratic Sen. John Breaux is seriously considering a bid for Governor of Louisiana.  John Maginnis, editor of the highly regarded Louisiana Political Fax Weekly, initially reported the news this morning, and the Cook Political Report has independently verified that it is true.  Apparently Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco has privately indicated a willingness to step aside if Breaux, or possibly another Democrat, such as Rep. Charlie Melancon, would run instead.

None of this is a done deal, but Breaux is serious, and his candidacy would change the face of the race for Democrats.

John Maginnis, the Republican operative Cook Political Report cites in their breaking report, writes the following:

Breaux Eyes Governor’s Race
Former Sen. John Breaux has told sources he is “very interested” in running for governor if Kathleen Blanco doesn’t. T. he Fax Weekly spoke to three individuals who say Breaux directly told them of his renewed interest during Washington Mardi Gras.
“This is the most interested I’ve seen him than all the other b.s. we’ve been through,” said a friend of the 61-year-old ex-senator turned high-powered Washington lobbyist. He toyed with campaigning for governor in 2003 and for re-election in 2004, holding the political community and other campaigns in suspense until he announced he would not run.
News of Breaux’s interest both heartens Democrats and puts pressure on Blanco to make her decision soon. The governor is said to have a poll in the field.

If Cook Political Report cites Maginnis, I believe this is news to be taken very seriously.  For Breaux, as many here already know, won his reelection bids for his US Senate seat in 1992 and 1998 in the open primary, not a runoff, with 73% and 64% respectively.  And unlike Landrieu, Breaux’s base is not in Orelans Parish; it is in Acadiana, specifically Acadia Parish.  Moreover, Breaux has overwhelmingly carried what is now the very important, indeed crucial, population center of East Baton Rouge Parish, a feat Mary Landrieu has had much difficulty acheiving, although her 2002 runoff performance is promising. 

Blanco claims a poll is presently in the field, but I am not sure it will convince her to run now that Beaux has indicated a strong interest in the gubernatorial race.  For a Southern Media and Opinion Research poll in January 2007 reported the following:

Republican Jindal leads Blanco, a Democrat, 59 percent to 35 percent, according to a survey of 600 likely voters conducted during the weekend by Southern Media and Opinion Research.

In a three-way race with Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, Jindal leads Blanco 58 percent to 31 percent, with Campbell pulling 6 percent.

I am not aware of any legislative feat Blanco has acheived with the state House or the state Senate in the past month, but she has managed to convince Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats to craft legislation to benefit Louisiana.  Blanco has also spent the last month vociferously criticizing Bush in the wake of Brown’s statement that the Bush Administration purposefully undermined Louisiana in order to undercut Blanco’s credibility.

But there are at least three variables we need to consider before we assume Breaux would beat Jindal in the open primary or in a very competitive runoff:  Foster Campbell, John Georges and Walter Boasso.  Foster Campbell, a populist Democrat from North Louisiana who is presently the Public Service Commissioner for one fifth of the state, has a warchest of $750,000, and he plans to run.  But Jindal will be splitting the Republican vote with at least Walter Boasso, a state Senator representing Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish and parts of St. Tammany Parish, and Orleans Parish businessman John Georges, who has committed $2 million of his own money to his campaign.  Jindal has $2.67 million, and Blanco has $3 million.  Although Breaux has not yet announced, I imagine he will match if not surpass Jindal’s warchest.  We should also keep in mind that Blanco, if she abandons her campaign, will have $3 million to distribute through various channels to Breaux. 

If Breaux chooses to run, this race will become very interesting.  As you can see, Jindal already has viable challenges from two Republicans and two Demcrats, Blanco included.  If Breaux enters, it may be possible Jindal does not even make a runoff, as he will split the Republican vote, particularly the Republican votes of populous Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes, with a popular state Senator and a wealthy Orleans Parish businessman.  And Foster Campbell will complicate Jindal’s bid in North Louisiana, where Blanco, according to the January poll, still maintains an edge.  John Breaux will only compound the problems Jindal already faces, as Breaux will seriously reduce any support Jindal has in Acadiana, which according the January poll could have been a Jindal stronghold. 

While I am still awaiting Breaux’s entry, I am more optimistic about this race than I was a week ago.  A ticket of Jindal, Georges, Boasso, Breaux and Campbell will make it impossible for Jindal to win the Governor’s seat in 2007.  And I imagine this will make it very difficult for the Louisiana GOP to focus on state House and state Senate seats, as they will have to spend to ensure a Republican, any Republican, makes a runoff with Breaux.

And what of Foster Campell, you may ask?  It is a legitimate question.  Building name recognition in 2007, Campbell can prepare himself for a 2010 race against David Vitter, who is now, according to Maginnis, fashioning himself as another John Breaux.  Perhaps Vitter knows Louisianans are not ready to swallow his callous conservatism. 

LA-Gov: Democrat Foster Campbell To Run Against Blanco (D)

Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell has indicated he plans to challenge Gov. Kathleen Blanco for the Democratic nomination for governor. Campbell is a farmer and businessman who served 27 years in the Louisiana Senate before being elected Public Service Commission in 2002 to represent the North Louisiana district of 24 parishes with over 1 million people. He has been a frequent critic of corporate power, corruption, and special interests and will run a populist style campaign in a state that has a long tradition of electing populist politicians.