Lousiana House 2007: LCRM Gloats; I Assiduously Take Notes

Crossposted at Daily Kingfish

If you have a spare moment in your busy schedule, I recommend you visit the webiste of the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, a PAC US Senator David Vitter bankrolls with Washington, DC, money. All the usual suspects are there: Paul Dickson, Wendy Vitter, Boysie Bollinger, David Vitter, TA Barfield, Joseph Canizaro, Michael Polito, Fox News and The Weekly Standard.  And there they are rehashing and revising all the 1994 rhetoric, failing to recall that today is the year 2007.  “Revolution,” “Republican re-alignment [sic],” “Republican domination,” “a Democrat [sic] Party in crisis,” “trial lawyers,” “smaller government,” “business friendly,” “an end to political corruption:”  all the tropes are there for the taking, and Vitter and company are falling on top of one another as they grasp for whatever straws they can find in their twisted fantasy space.  It is quite sick, really, especially when one wonders why they are so obsessed with hegemony.  For the goal is to present “the next Republican Governor” with a “Republican controlled House.”  Dissent and debate will not be brooked in their warped vision for Louisiana. 

Despite all the crowing about the impending “revolution,” LCRM has already conceded the state Senate to the Democrats.  Their eyes are focused on the state House, and they outline the following four step plan for their planned takeover of that chamber in their introductory video: maintain the 25 seats presently held by Republicans; hold all 15 open Republican seats; “switch” or defeat 7 Democratic incumbents in districts “friendly to Vitter and Bush;” win 20 of the open Democratic seats that “lean Republican.”

Here is a table enumerating the state House seats they plan to target with open Republican seats in pink, Republican seats in red, open Democratic seats in purple and Democratic seats in blue:

HD01 James Morris Caddo and Bossier Parishes
HD07 Beverly Bruce Caddo and DeSoto Parishes
HD09 Billy Wayne Montgomery Bossier Parish
HD10 Jean M. Doerge Webster Parish
HD13 Jim Fannin Bienville, Jackson, Ouachita and Winn Parishes
HD14 Charlie Mac McDonald East Carroll, Morehouse, Ouachita and West Carroll Parishes
HD19 Francis T. Thompson East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and West Carroll Parishes
HD20 Lelon Kenney Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin and Tensas Parishes
HD24 Joe Salter DeSoto, Red River, Sabine and Vernon Parishes
HD25 Charlie DeWitt Rapides and Vernon Parishes
HD27 Rick Farrar Rapides Parish
HD30 John Smith Beauregard and Vernon Parishes
HD32 Herman Ray Hill Allen, Beauregard and Vernon Parishes
HD39 Clara Guilbeau Baudoin Lafayette, St. Landry and St. Martin Parishes
HD41 Mickey Guillory Acadia, Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes
HD42 Gil Pinac Acadia and Lafayette Parishes
HD46 Sydnie Mae Durand St. Martin Parish
HD47 Mickey Frith Cameron and Vermilion Parishes
HD48 Romo Romero Iberia Parish
HD49 Troy Hebert Iberia and Vermilion Parishes
HD50 Jack Smith Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes
HD53 Damon Baldone Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes
HD55 Warren Triche Lafourche Parish
HD56 Gary Smith St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes
HD75 Harold Ritchie St. Tammany and Washington Parishes
HD84 NJ Damico Jefferson Parish
HD103 Kenneth Odinet Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes

Some of this is not very surprising, but I do not understand how Republicans believe an incumbent such as Damon Baldone, who secured a large portion of the Terrebonne Parish vote during the 2004 jungle primary for LA-03 and thereby enabled Charlie Melancon to edge past state Sen. Craign Romero into the runoff, would either switch parties or lose an election in his home turf.  I also wonder how they plan to smear Mickey Guillory, a former police officer, and Jean Doerge, a former educator.  And do they seriously believe River Parish voters will oust Gary Smith?

Their focus on Acadiana is the result of the popularity of John Breaux and Chris John in this region.  The Acadiana vote has always been one Republicans have had a difficult time securing, and they believe this is the year they can turn south Louisiana red.  While the fields for the jungle primaries for these races are yet to be formed, we do have promising Democratic candidates running for some of these open Democratic seats.  One worth watching and supporting is Simone Champagne, who retired from her position as Chief Administrator for Iberia Parish Government in order to run for Troy Hebert’s House seat.  If we can recruit organized and qualified candidates such as Champagne in every open Acadiana seat, we will derail LCRM’s plan to control the state House in the name of “Republican domination.”

What are your reactions to LCRM’s strategy?  And how do you interpret their rhetoric?  Is David Vitter obsessed with Chris John?  Do you see their strategy as viable?  Or do you view it as so much posturing and so much bilge?  Whether or not we agree with it, we at least know where the lines have been drawn, and we should prepare to fight them on each and every front. 

And we should also surprise them with attacks in districts they assume are safely Republican.  HD54, HD104, HD105 are three seats presently held by Republicans that are far from safe.  Two other seats that comes to mind unbidden are HD94 and HD95.  And according to one Louisiana political pundit, HD31 may become a very interesting race.

Louisiana Governor’s Race & State Legislative Races UPDATE: BLANCO OUT

John Breaux may run, even if Blanco decides to remain in the race.  Visit this website for more details, especially if you want Breaux to run:


The Louisiana Democratic Party now has an account with ActBlue for their state legislative races.  Visit their fundraising page at this website:


Bobby Jindal, who plans to run for Governor in 2007, is ranked 432 out of 435 in terms of effectiveness in Congress.  Visit this website for more details:


Progressive reformer and grassroots activist Deborah Langhoff, who missed the runoff in the special election on 10 March by 89 votes, plans to run for LA-HD 94 this November.  Here is an excerpt from New Orleans City Business:

LCRM race role

In the March 10 legislative election in District 94, four pieces of mail attacking leading Democratic candidate Deborah Langhoff arrived the day before Election Day.

The mail was produced by the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, a new organization dedicated to electing a Republican majority in the Louisiana Legislature this fall. LCRM is heavily funded by GOP donors Boysie Bollinger and Joe Canizaro and supported by Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie.

The mailers “exposed” Langhoff’s liberalism and quoted her as saying “I loathe Bobby Jindal.” Langhoff said the “hit pieces” hurt her vote total and kept her out of the runoff. For that reason, Langhoff will not endorse marketing representative Jeb Bruneau nor attorney Nick Lorusso, the two Republican runoff candidates. She plans to run in the fall against whoever wins the general election March 31.


WWL TV New Orleans writes the following:

Governor Kathleen Blanco has requested television time tonight for a gubernatorial address that will be carried live on Eyewitness News at 6 p.m.. Sources tell Eyewitness News that Blanco will announce she is not seeking re-election.

Misquoted and Misrepresented

I thought I should share this link with everyone here.  Please advise.


And again, here is the link.  Scroll to the bottom of the link to see scanned copies of the campaign literature wherein I was misquoted and therefore misrepresented.  There is more than what I post here.

I know this diary is short, but I want everyone’s opinion.

  And no, I am not affiliated with Deborah Langhoff’s campaign or with any politician for that matter.  I am just an engaged and concerned citizen who wants to see my state rebuilt.

LA-HD94 Special Election Returns

Tonight is the night of the special open primary for the seat Peppi Bruneau, a Republican, vacated before his term expires in November.  Polls closed at 8pm CST.  Let us hope Deborah Langhoff qualifies for the runoff.

Open primary results can be found here.

The ballot appears as follows:

State Representative, 94th Representative District
0 of 53 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Precinct
0  0% Philip C. Brickman, R –
0  0% “Jeb” Bruneau, R –
0  0% John M. Holahan, Jr., D –
0  0% Deborah J. Langhoff, D –
0  0% Nicholas J. “Nick” Lorusso, R –
0  0% William “Bill” Vanderwall, Sr., D –

LA-HD94: Final Push to Saturday Open Primary

Polls will open on Saturday for the special open primary for LA-HD94, and the ballot is set.  Here is how the ballot will appear on Saturday:

State Representative, 94th Representative District
0 of 53 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Philip C. Brickman, R –
0  0% “Jeb” Bruneau, R –
0  0% John M. Holahan, Jr., D –
0  0% Deborah J. Langhoff, D –
0  0% Nicholas J. “Nick” Lorusso, R –
0  0% William “Bill” Vanderwall, Sr., D –

Deborah Langhoff, the grassroots Democrat who is running on a compelling message of government reform, has been running an aggressive campaign as evidenced by this mailer, one directed at her most redoubtable opponent, Jeb Bruneau:

Such mailers are designed to keep Bruneau on the defensive, and it appears to be working, as Peppi, Jeb’s father, the Republican who abandoned this seat before the last legislative session of his 32 year term in order to bequeath it to his son in a rushed special election, must now answer the uncomfortable questions of constituents and reporters.  Langhoff effectively shaped the main theme of this race, and everyone, including the Bruneaus, both père and fils, must react to her claims and to her message.  These quotes from a Times Picayune article demonstrate the success of Langhoff’s media campaign:

Peppi Bruneau (R)

On the campaign trail, Bruneau’s resignation is being portrayed as a “political handoff.” Peppi Bruneau, however, says the sniping is only rhetoric.

“I have always said I didn’t intend to be term-limited,” he said. “I didn’t want to do that. It was like being a lame duck, and I didn’t want to be a lame duck.”

In a response to a constituent who questioned his motives, Bruneau wrote that the winner of the special election stands to gain instant seniority over the 50-plus new House members who will be elected in the fall.

“I think that this will provide an advantage for our area, and that is why I have resigned,” he wrote. “I do not find this to be an awkward moment.”

But Peppi Bruneau scoffs at any notion that anything nefarious is afoot.

“How can you sneak something through when there are five opponents?” he asked. “I’d say interest is pretty high in this race.”

Deborah Langhoff (D)

“I’m not saying they did anything illegal, but they definitely manipulated the process,” Langhoff said.

Nick Lorusso (R)

Lorusso said Bruneau — who will step down on April 30, the first day of the regular legislative session — abandoned the devastated district for his final term of office to bolster his son’s chances of election.

“It’s outrageous,” said Lorusso, echoing the feelings of most of the other candidates. “When this district needs Peppi Bruneau the most, we won’t have him.”

Jeb Bruneau (R)

For his part, Jeb Bruneau says his father did not urge him to run for a position he feels he is prepared to hold, having served nearly two years as president of the Lakeview Civic Association and having helped to coordinate the ongoing recovery of his neighborhood.

“If you want to be upset with Peppi, be upset with Peppi,” he said. “But judge Jeb on Jeb.

“This was not my idea. I understand what it means to be part of a political family. Let’s face it, my decision to run would have been an issue in the fall, too.”

Philip Brickman (R)

For example, on his Web site, Brickman refers readers to a newspaper article on what he calls “our district’s last-minute special election.”

The cost of holding an election on that day was anticipated when lawmakers adopted the state budget last year, Peppi Bruneau said. Whatever the cost, Brickman said, “it is a waste of taxpayer money.”

John Holahan (D)

And as part of his platform, Holahan is pledging to introduce legislation to eliminate special elections when legislators resign with less than a year left in a term. Instead of incurring the expense of an election, Holahan’s proposal calls for the House leadership to fill the vacancy on an interim basis with the appointee barred from running for the job.

Langhoff shaped the terms of this election, and she has the heir apparent cornered.  As the Times Picayune reports, “While crime, education and the slow pace of the hurricane recovery are integral parts of the campaign debate, references to the incumbent’s resignation are inescapable.”

Although Deborah has effectively defined this election, she still trails in fundraising.  According to the Times Picayune,

State campaign finance reports that cover activity through Feb. 28 show that Jeb Bruneau had raised about $85,000, significantly more than any of his opponents.

Raising the next-highest total was Langhoff, with about $15,000, followed by Brickman with $5,500 and Holahan with $4,500. No fundraising was reported by either Lorusso or Vanderwall.

For a grassroots candidate with no support from the Democratic establishment, Langhoff is performing really well.  If she qualifies for the runoff, I imagine Louisiana Democrats will be forced to support her campaign.  More egregious, however, is the lack of support Langhoff is receiving from local Democrats, particularly City Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, state Sen. Ed Murray and state Rep. J.P. Morrell, who are all inexplicably endorsing Republican Jeb Bruneau. These three elected officials should reconsider their endorsements,especially as Democrats may lose their majorities in the state House and Senate.

But Deborah has secured the endorsements of the AFL-CIO and the New Orleans Coalition, a Hurricane Katrina relief organization.  And even though Jeb Bruneau managed to secure the endorsement of establishment Democrats in New Orleans, he failed to capture the endorsement of the Alliance for Good Government, of which Jeb is a member.  That endorsement went to Republican Nick Larusso.

Because this race is not yet over, I ask you to contribute to Langhoff’s campaign.  Not only has she managed to shape the terms of this election on very limited funds; she has a real chance of qualifying for the runoff.  Early support will catapult her ahead of her presumptive runoff opponent Jeb Bruneau for this crucial Louisiana House seat.  Also visit her website, where one can view her videos.  This candidate understands the issues facing her district, and she will recreate and reactivate the Louisiana Democratic Party from within.  Let us back Deborah Langhoff.


LA-HD94 Special Election 10 MARCH: UPDATE

The following is a diary Mike Stagg, who ran for the House in LA-07 last November, posted at MyDD on Friday, only to have it pushed aside by all the Presidential diaries.  After we lost one LA State House seat last weekend, I believe we should try to support Langhoff, whether it be through volunteering, contributing or blogging.  Here is Mike’s dairy, and I will try to write more at another time.  Although Mike works with the Langhoff campaign, I do not; I just support her candidacy. 

Deborah Langhoff, you may recall from my other diaries, is a Democrat running for a seat recently vacated by a Republican.  Because Republicans plan on sweeping all statewide and legislative offices this year, we really need to win this seat.  Langhoff’s main Republican opponent in the open primary is Jeb Bruneau, the son of Republican Peppi Bruneau, who evacuated this seat on short notice in order to create a short special election cycle to the benefit of his son.  Langhoff is a grassroots organizer who has the chance to win this seat, and I ask everyone to support her and her really promising campaign.

Anyone interested in seeing the Republican game plan for 2007 unveiled should keep their eye on the special election in House District 94 where Democrat Deborah Langhoff has emerged as a threat to win the seat.

Langhoff, who has won endorsements from the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO and the New Orleans Coalition, has been warned in recent days that she is about to become the subject of a smear campaign. How did she learn of this? From Republicans (including at least one candidate) who wanted her to know that they “had nothing to do” with what is, allegedly about to happen.

Element One of the 2007 GOP Game Plan: Crank Up the Slime Machine! No doubt money from the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority is not far removed from this effort.

Then, today, Jeb Bruneau — the designated heir apparent for whose benefit this special election was engineered (thanks to his daddy’s resignation from the seat) rolled out a mailer touting an endorsement from the leading Republican candidate for governor — Bobby Jindal. Poor Jeb! Bobby’s probably telling him how to run his campaign now! 😉

The mailer looks more like a Jindal piece than a Bruneau piece. No 
doubt Jindal approved it.

Element Two of the 2007 GOP Game Plan: Create an air of inevitability. This, actually, is out of the Karl Rove playbook. Work the media, tout your internal poll numbers (that you won’t let anyone see) or the numbers of a friendly pollster who will skew things your way. Try to depress voter turnout among Democrats by creating a defeatist attitude.

But, the Langhoff campaign is going to unveil a Democratic template of its own. It’s called Fighting Back!

If/when the smear comes, Deborah and her team will come out fighting, slamming the Republican slime machine, calling them out on their cynicism, their reliance on manipulation of process and people in a deceitful effort to retain/gain power at all costs.

Deborah needs your help NOW! There are nine days until the primary. 

The wheels are coming off the Bruneau campaign. The Alliance for Good Government, of which Jeb Bruneau is a member, endorsed another candidate. Deborah’s direct mail campaign has slammed the blatant manipulation of the election process by Peppi Bruneau with the intent of benefitting Jeb — and people are responding. Why are they responding? Because they recognize the attempted manipulation and Deborah has had the courage to call the Bruneaus on it.

As you know, Republicans have targeted at least 37 House seats currently held by Democrats for Republican takeover this fall. They don’t believe they have a single vulnerable seat.

Democrats have a chance to take that seat through Deborah Langhoff’s inspiring campaign.

We can knock their alleged juggernaut off the tracks before it even gets rolling — IF YOU WILL HELP DEBORAH’S CAMPAIGN!!!

Go here: Deborah Langhoff’s website

Make a contribution — even if you don’t live in the district. If you live in or near the district, make a contribution and get involved directly in the campaign. Volunteer to phone bank or walk neighborhoods.

Republicans have big plans for Louisiana that start in 2008. As John Lennon said: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans.” Victories are won that way, too. We can upset those GOP plans by working together in 2007.

Help Deborah Langhoff resist the Swiftboating of her campaign! It’s a preview of what Democrats across this state are going to face this fall.

Help fight it NOW!!!

Thomas Schaller, Louisiana and the GOP: Please Do Not Whistle Past Us

(The importance of holding on to what we can in Louisiana is critical. This will be a make-or-break year for Louisiana Democrats. Are we ready? – promoted by James L.)

Having had penned multiple diaries on Louisiana politics and the plight of the Democratic party in my state here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, I am elated Thomas F. Schaller of Whistling Past Dixie fame has written this 20 FEB 2007 article for Salon.com on the GOP’s planned 2007 sweep of Louisiana.  The situation is grim, and the graphic accompanying his article, a blue Louisiana in the process of being delaminated into a red Louisiana, aptly summarizes the state of affairs in my state.

Here are some of the key passages from Schaller’s article, key passages I hope will compel my readers to begin participating in the mobilization project on behalf of Louisiana Democrats I am trying to enact here and elsewhere in the blogosphere:

“The polls show him [Bobby Jindal] ahead big.” Not surprisingly, state Republicans are licking their chops. “The GOP is very organized and aggressively fundraising,” says a top Louisiana Democrat, who asked not to be named. “They will be well financed and looking to use a big gubernatorial win [in 2007] to catapult other GOP wins down ballot.” Louisiana is, in short, perhaps the only state in the nation where George W. Bush’s policies may end up creating a permanent Republican majority.

In fact, however, Louisiana was trending away from Democrats even before the hurricane. Bill Clinton carried the state in both 1992 and 1996. But Al Gore — who spent little time there, despite the fact that his campaign manager, Donna Brazile, knows the state’s politics better than almost anyone — received just 45 percent of the vote in 2000. Four years later John Kerry slipped to 42 percent. So recently a swing state, Louisiana will be on neither party’s 2008 target list.

Notice how the second paragraph establishes a causal connection between the national Democratic party’s lack of investment in Louisiana and the state’s rightward trend.  Somehow the fifty-state strategy of Dr. Dean flew over Louisiana, and state Democrats on the local, state and federal level are paying dearly.  And 2007 will be no different.  All statewide, executive offices are on the ballot, as is the entire state legislature, and I have written many diaries that are cited above on the 2007 situation.  Republicans can sweep both state legislative chambers and control redistricting after the 2010 census, lending them the opportunity to gerrymander districts to the favor of the Republicans.  And if a Republican governor in Bobby Jindal is elected, the gerrymander will be especially damaging to Democrats, as he and Sen. David Vitter (R) have been planning the 2007 collapse of the Louisiana Democratic Party for many years.  Discussion of this latest installment of the Southern Strategy can be found in the diaries I cite above, which contain links to other writers who have elaborated on the cynicism undergirding the Republicans’ power grab in Louisiana.

So Schaller has alerted a broader audience of a problem about which I have been writing for at least three months.  What can be done?  Will we bring the fight to the Louisiana GOP?  Or will we allow them to steamroll over our state? 

The first step would be donating to a grassroots Democratic candidate who is running in a special election to be held on 10 March for Louisiana House District Seat 94, a seat vacated by a Republican named Peppi Bruneau, who has held that seat since 1974.  I have penned a long article about this race here, noting how the grassroots, Democratic challenger, Deborah Langhoff, who in my opinion is an excellent candidate we should all support, has a real chance at winning this race.  Her strongest opponent, Jeb Bruneau, Peppi Bruneau’s son, has raised a lot of money with the help of his father and lobbyists in Baton Rouge.  But the cynicism of his father’s last minute retirement has upset voters in District 94, and this gives Langhoff a chance to win this race with her compelling message of governmental reform and change.  

Langhoff’s race is important, as this is one of the first competitive races in 2007.  With the entire legislature up for reelection in November,  a Langhoff victory will send the Louisiana GOP a signal that they have a very big fight on their hands if they want to change this state red.  It will also give beleaguered voters the hope that they will have representatives in Baton Rouge who understand their plight.  

Louisiana, as many of you may recall, was a swing state in 2000.  Clinton won the state in 1992 and 1996, and Mary Landrieu managed to eke out wins for her Senate seat in 1996 and 2002.  If Louisiana falls to the GOP, Arkansas will be the only Democratic leaning state in the South, and the GOP will eventually focus their efforts there.  We must stop the Southern Strategy, and this begins with supporting Deborah Langhoff now.  

Schaller claims that John Breaux, who may run for Governor, may be the only hope for the Louisiana Democratic Party.  Perhaps he is.  But we can also help out by participating in races such as LA-HD94 that may at first seem very insignificant.

Expect more diaries on Louisiana politics.  If the GOP sweeps the state, our displaced residents will most probably never be able to return home.  The GOP has been cynically exploiting Katrina and Rita for political gain, and it is incumbent upon us to inform them that we as citizens will not allow them to destroy a wonderful state in order to expand their political power.  I hope you will join me on behalf of this beautiful albeit struggling state.  And please accept my apologies for the rushed diary.

LA-HD94 Special Election: Introducing Deborah Langhoff (D-New Orleans)

The ballot for the 10 March open primary for the open Louisiana State House District 94 seat, recently abandoned by Peppi Bruneau, a New Orleans Republican who held this seat since 1974, is setHere is how the ballot will appear for the special election:

State Representative, 94th Representative District
0 of 53 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Precinct
0  0% Philip C. Brickman, R –
0  0% “Jeb” Bruneau, R –
0  0% John M. Holahan, Jr., D –
0  0% Deborah J. Langhoff, D –
0  0% Nicholas J. “Nick” Lorusso, R –
0  0% William “Bill” Vanderwall, Sr., D –

Louisiana House District 94,

located in the northwestern corner of Orleans Parish, encompasses the Lake Vista, Lakeshore, Lake Terrace, Lake Oaks, Lakewood, Lakeview, Country Club Gardens, Parkview and City Park neighborhoods as well as parts of Mid-City, Gentilly and Faubourg St John.  Traditionally Republican, the voters of District 94 and of northwestern New Orleans have shown signs of shifting their political allegiances.  For in 2006 they ousted Republican incumbent Jay Batt in the City Council District A race and replaced him with Democratic newcomer Shelley Stephenson Midura, who ran an aggressive grassroots campaign that included everything from humorous television commercials to women clad in aprons protesting and marching on Carrollton Avenue.  Although some claim Midura’s 52-48 victory over Jay Batt in the 2006 runoff was an anomaly that was largely the result of population shifts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, others maintain her victory was undergirded by voters’ distrust of incumbent politicians who were viewed as aloof, corrupt and unresponsive to the needs of the citizens they were elected to represent.

Midura’s 2006 victory is apposite to this discussion of the special election for LA-HD94 for many reasons:  Midura’s City Council A District,

although it contains Democratic precincts in Uptown and Mid-City not included in LA-HD94, is similar in shape and composition to LA-HD94; the open primaries for Midura’s race as well as the race for LA-HD94 contain large fields of candidates along with a vulnerable Republican incumbent, although in the case of LA-HD94 Jeb Bruneau is not the incumbent but the heir apparent of Bruneau père, who is attempting to transfer power from father to son; and Midura’s campaign consultant, Michael Beychok, has been hired by Democratic challenger Deborah Langhoff, a movement candidate who similar to Midura is running a campaign that highlights the corruption and cronyism of the Republican heir apparent while promising to provide overdue advocacy and representation for the beleaguered LA-HD94 voters who are still trying to recover and rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  In other words, Langhoff is running on a compelling message of change, and she is using Midura’s victorious 2006 campaign as a model.

Deborah Langhoff is a political activist, small business owner and community organizer who understands the plight of the constituents she desires to serve: a resident of Lake Vista, her home was destroyed in Katrina.  She also has the political and community experience to wage a winning campaign: she founded Democrats in Jeans, a network of Louisiana Democrats who organized to provide assistance to hurricane survivors in the wake of Katrina; she is a Founding Member of the Citizens’ Road Home Action Team, a group who organized on the New Orleans Wiki who desire to ensure everyone receives their Road Home Program funds; she created LaRoots.net, a private database project that sustains and nutures grassroots organization in Louisiana that began as KerryRoots.net during the 2004 Presidential race; she and the group surrounding her who call themselves Beaucoup Blues organized with Jim Dean and Democracy for America in 2005 in order to “turn Louisiana blue;” and she has created and volunteered for multiple arts education programs in public schools in New Orleans.  In other words, Langhoff is the real deal, and her grassroots organization skills will be a huge benefit to the Democratic Party in Louisiana and in the United States as a whole.

Langhoff definitely has a chance of qualifying for the runoff and beating Jeb Bruneau, the presumed frontrunner, with the right amount of effort and funds.  LA-HD94 is comprised of 53 precincts, 42 of which are located in Midura’s City Council A District.  Midura won 10 of these 42 precincts, garnering 3,419 votes to Batt’s 5,385, or 38.8% to Batt’s 61.2%.  The precincts Midura won are located in Mid-City and Parkview, while Batt one in precincts located in Navarre, Lakewood, West End, Lakeview, Lakeshore, Lake Vista, Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks.  LA-HD94 does contain a Mid-City precinct not included in Midura’s City Council A District, and it also includes 2 in Faubourg St. John, also Democratic, and 5 in Fillmore, which is a lot more Democratic than the precincts located along Lake Pontchartrain and the Metarie Canal, where Batt beat Midura, sometimes by large margins.  LA-HD94 also contains 3 Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks precincts not located in Midura’s City Council A District.  A resident of Lake Vista, Langhoff will be able to reduce Republican margins in these precincts.  Midura’s 2006 victory also provides Langhoff with a precedent with which to lure voters to take her candidacy seriously. 

Although Langhoff will have to fight in order to win this seat, it is definitely feasible: she is the only woman on the ballot; there are no other races on the ballot on 10 March, which makes the open primary and the runoff turnout elections, especially as one other special election for the LA House in Orleans Parish in the wake of Katrina, LA-HD97, had very low turnout in the open primary and in the runoff, 2,300 and 5,400 votes respectively, when turnout for such races is normally about 9,000 to 10,000 votes; and Langhoff is exploiting, indeed exacerbating, a general distrust voters have for incumbent politicians, especially local politicians who failed to keep their constituents safe while never delivering the services they promised.

Visit Deborah Langhoff’s website, and consider contributing to her campaign.  Not only will her victory enable us to gain a LA House seat and thereby ensure that chamber is in Democratic hands for redistricting; her victory will be the first signal to the Louisiana GOP that they will have a big fight on their hands when they try to take over both state legislative chambers later this year.


2007 – Louisiana House of Representatives

National and local bloggers as well as a local political scientist, who is, in fact, a Republican operative, have already discussed the ineluctable loss of a US Congressional seat in Louisiana, and they have noted how the GOP is ready to pounce on a state Democratic Party made vulnerable by a national and political disaster.  While I will not express my disgust with the Republicans’ vacuous cynicism and the egregious opportunism of some members of the Louisiana GOP, I will focus on one remedy to this increasingly dire situation: the 2007 elections for every seat in the Louisiana Legislature.

The Louisiana House of Representatives is comprised of 105 seats.  The Democrats presently enjoy a strong majority of 60 seats in the House, while the Republicans and an Independent occupy 41 seats and one seat respectively.  3 seats are currently vacant.  This majority, however, is threatened by many factors, one of which are the term limits that have recently been imposed on all Louisiana legislators: 30 Democrats and 16 Republicans must abandon their seats in 2007.  Compounding the dilemma Louisiana Democrats will face when trying to retain all these open seats is the organization the Republican Party has already consolidated in preparation for the 2007 elections.  Republicans are “on the march in Louisiana,” crows John Maginnis, another Republican operative who poses as an objective news analyst and as a disinterested political commentator for the New Orleans Times-Picayune and other Louisiana newspapers.  While his confidence is somewhat founded, it is also premature, especially as the field for the 2007 legislative races has not yet assumed a discernable shape. 

But Maginnis and the people for whom he serves as a paid pamphleteer do have reason to be optimistic.  For out of the 60 Louisiana Democrats presently in the House, only 30 are eligible for reelection.  And even worse, four of the thirty Democratic incumbents will most probably have to stave off spirited Republican challenges for thier seats in 2007. 

Complicating this already grim predicament are the 30 open seats Democrats must try to retain, 16 of which could very well fall to the Republicans if they are not amply defended.  While two of the sixteen Republican open seats can be claimed by strong Democratic challengers, Republicans can win the House if they wage a coordinated campaign across the state.  Indeed, Democrats are only guaranteed 40 seats in the 2007 election, 13 short of the 53 needed to claim the majority of their chamber.  And even if they win all three of the vacant seats up for election on 24 FEB 2007, they will still be 10 seats short after the November 2007 runoffs.  If Louisiana Democrats and the online activists who should help them do not plan for the imminent Republican onslaught as John Maginnis describes it in advance, their ability to redraw the lines of US House seats to the advantage of Democratic incumbents after the 2010 census will be compromised.

Seats located in parishes that have voted for Democrats running for federal office statewide in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004 with incumbents unencumbered by term limits who have received little to no opposition in the last two election cycles are seats I consider guaranteed for the Democratic Party.  I also consider seats where Republicans have not competed in open seat primaries safe for the Democrats.  The maps located on this webpage will help you determine the exact location of these districts.  Seat numbers are printed in the order of Democratic strength, the weakest of which is typed last.


61 – Michael L. Jackson (D), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 1999

101 – Cedric L. Richmond (D), Orleans Parish, elected 1999

102 – Jeffrey “Jeff” J. Arnold (D), Orleans, elected 2002

63 – Avon R. Honey (D), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2002

100 – Austin J. Badon, Jr. (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

97 – Jean-Paul L. Morrell (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2006

87 – Terrell L. Harris (D), Jefferson Parish, elected 2005

18 – Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. (D), Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana Parishes, elected 1999

21 – John F. “Andy” Anders (D), Concordia, East Carroll, Madison and Tensas Parishes, elected 2006

51 – Carla Blanchard Dartez (D), Assumption, St. Mary and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 1999

53 – Damon J. Baldone (D), Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 2001

75 – Harold L. Ritchie (D), St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, elected 2003

10 – Jean M. Doerge (D), Webster Parish, elected 1998

60 – Karen Gaudet St. Germain (D), Ascension, Assumption, Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes, elected 2003

99 – Charmaine L. Marchand (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

96 – Juan A. LaFonta (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2005

91 – Jalila Jefferson-Bullock (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

29 – Regina Ashford Barrow (D), East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge Parishes, elected 2005

93 – Karen R. Carter (D), Orleans Parish, elected 1999

13 – James R. “Jim” Fannin (D), Bienville, Jackson, Ouachita and Winn Parishes, elected 2003

11 – Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr. (D), Bienville, Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes, elected 2000

23 – T. Taylor Townsend (D), Natchitoches and Winn Parishes, elected 1999

38 – Kenneth Eric LaFleur (D), Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, elected 1999

2 – Roy A. Burrell (D), Bossier and Caddo Parishes, elected 2003

28 – Monica H. Walker (D), Avoyelles Parish, elected 2003

56 – Gary L. Smith, Jr. (D), St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes, elected 1999

26 seats

4 Democratic and 9 Republican incumbents presently occupy seats representing competitive districts.  These incumbents have received strong competition from an opposing party in an open primary, or they were forced to engage in very competitive runoffs against a member of the opposing party during the last two election cycles.  Some Republican incumbents, especially Nita Hutter and Ernest Wooton, are considered vulnerable as a result of demographic shifts in their districts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  Because Democrats may lose many of their open seats, it is to their advantage to wage vigorous challenges against Republicans who hold competitive seats in 2007, especially those Republicans who represent parishes with Democratic leanings.  Seat numbers are presented in order of Democratic strength, the weakest seat for Democrats typed last.  The lone Independent seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives is a competitive seat vulnerable to a Republican takeover.  Unfortunately, we did not run a candidate in the open primary for this seat during the 2004 special election.


98 – Cheryl Artise Gray (D), Orleans Parish, elected 2003

27 – Rick L. Farrar (D), Rapides Parish, elected 1991 and 1999

22 – Billy R. Chandler (D), Grant, LaSalle, Rapides and Winn Parishes, elected 2006

41 – Mickey James Guillory (D), Acadia, Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes, elected 2003

105 – Ernest D. Wooton (R), Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles Parishes, elected 1999, switched from D to R in 2006

54 – Loulan J. Pitre, Jr. (R), Jefferson and Lafourche Parishes, elected 1999

104 – Nita Hutter (R),  St. Bernard Parish, elected 2000

62 – Thomas H. “Tom” McVea (R), East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, Livingston and St. Helena Parishes, elected 2000

35 – Brett Frank Geymann (R), Calcasieu and Beauregard Parishes, elected 2003

88 – M. J. “Mert” Smiley, Jr. (R), Ascension and Livingston Parishes, elected 2003

71 – Dale M. Erdey (R), Livingston Parish, elected 1999

59 – Eddie J. Lambert (R), Ascension Parish, elected 2003

52 – Gordon E. Dove, Sr. (R), Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes, elected 2003

31 – Donald “Mark” Don Trahan (R), Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes, elected 2003

45 – Joel C. Robideaux (I), Lafayette Parish, elected 2004

15 seats

15 incumbent Republicans who are unencumbered with lerm limits are considered safe in 2007, but every single one of these seats must be challenged.  The most Republican district is typed last. 


16 – Kay Kellogg Katz (R), Ouachita Parish, elected 1999

43 – Ernest J. Alexander (R), Lafayette Parish, elected 1999

12 – Hollis Dawns (R), Lincoln and Union Parishes, elected 2003

36 – E. “Chuck” Kleckley (R), Calcasieu Parish, elected 2005

66 – Hunter V. Greene (R), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2005

69 – Gary J. Beard (R), East Baton Rouge Parish, elected 2001

81 – John LaBruzzo (R), Jefferson Parish, elected 2003

6 – Mike Powell (R), Bossier and Caddo Parishes, elected 2003

64 – Mack A. “Bodi” White, Jr. (R), East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parishes, elected 2003

89 – Timothy G. “Tim” Burns (R), St. Tammany Parish, elected 2003

86 – Jim Tucker (R), Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, elected 2001

8 – Jane H. Smith (R), Bossier Parish, elected 1999

76 – A. G. Crowe (R), St. Tammany Parish, elected 1999

74 – Michael G. Strain (R), St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes, elected 1999

5 – Wayne Wadell (R), Caddo Parrish, elected 1997

15 seats

30 Democrats and 16 Republicans must retire in 2008, leaving 46 open seats behind them.  14 seats are safe for Democrats, while 12 are safe for Republicans.  Of the 20 open seats I consider competitive, 16 are presently held by Democrats.  The weakest of these safe Democratic seats is typed last.


95(Heaton, D) – Orleans Parish

26(Curtis, D) – Rapides Parish

44(Pierre, D) – Lafayette Parish

17(Hunter, D) – Ouachita Parish

57(Faucheux, D) – St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes

46(Durand, D) – St. Martin Parish

47(Frith, D) – Cameron and Vermilion Parishes

55(Triche, D) – Lafourche Parish

34(Guillory, D) – Calcasieu Parish

67(Dorsey, D) – East Baton Rouge Parish

39(Baudoin, D) – Lafayette, St. Landry and St. Martin Parishes

20(Kenney, D) – Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin and Tensas Parishes

3(Baylor, D) – Caddo Parish

58(Quezaire, D) – Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, St. James and St. John Parishes

14 seats

Louisiana Democrats have the tall order of defending 16 of the following 20 competitive open seats.  One Republican seat, however, can be won by a Democrat.  Emile “Peppi” Bruneau, an Orleans Parish Republican who fashions himself as a “fiscal conversative,” has occupied the 94th seat since 1974.  According to Louisiana Republican insiders, Bruneau may retire within the next month, opening the seat for a special election to be held on 31 March, the day of the election for New Orleans’s municipal judges.  Although Bruneau will endeavor to hand this seat to his son with lobbyist money from Baton Rouge, New Orleans Democrats can derail this effort and win this seat, especially as Republican voters from Lakeview have yet to return and rebuild.  Shelley Stephenson Midura, whose City Council district is similar in shape to that of Bruneau’s House district, won her seat as a Democrat during the New Orleans municipal elections last year.  If Orleans Parish Democrats can find a Democrat from Lakeview to run an aggressive grassroots campaign similar to that of Midura, we can win this seat and add to our majority.  Does former New Orleans mayoral candidate Virginia Boulet want a Louisiana House seat?  The least likely seat to be one by a Democrat is typed last.


83(Alario, D) – Jefferson Parish

84(Damico, D) – Jefferson Parish

94(Bruneau, R) – Orleans Parish (may retire in time for 31March election)

19(Thompson, D) – East Carroll, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland and West Carroll Parishes

72(Carter, D) – East Feliciana, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana and St. Helena Parishes

103(Odinet, D) – Orleans and St. Bernard Parishes

42(Pinac, D) – Acadia and Lafayette Parishes

32(Hill, D) – Allen, Beauregard and Vernon Parishes

24(Salter, D) – DeSoto, Red River, Sabine and Vernon Parishes

70(Crane, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

14(McDonald, D) – East Caroll, Morehouse, Ouachita, West Carroll

49(Hebert, D) – Iberia and Vermilion Parishes

25(DeWitt, D) – Rapides and Vernon Parishes

50(Smith, D) – Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes

65(Kennard, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

92(Ansardi, D) – Jefferson Parish

48(Romero, D) – Iberia Parish

7(Bruce, D) – Caddo and DeSoto Parishes

30(Smith, D) – Beauregard and Vernon Parishes

73(Powell, R) – Tangipahoa Parish

20 seats

All of the following safe Republican open seats must be challenged.  The weakest Democratic opportunity is typed last.


15(Walsworth, R) – Ouachita Parish

68(Daniel, R) – East Baton Rouge Parish

33(Johns, R) – Beauregard and Calcasieu Parishes

82(Scalise, R) – Jefferson and Orleans Parishes

37(Moorish, R) – Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parishes

85(Toomy,R) – Jefferson Parish

79(Martiny, R) – Jefferson Parish

9(Montgomery, R) – Bossier Parish

80(Lancaster, R) – Jefferson Parish

78(Bowler, R) – Jefferson Parish

90(Schneider, R) – St. Tammany Parish

77(Winston, R) – St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes

20 seats

Open primaries will be held for the three vacant House seats on 24 February 2007.  2 of these vacant seats are safe Democratic seats, while one of them is a competitive seat.  Here is how the ballot for these seats will appear:

State Representative, 1st Representative District
0 of 31 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Michael Page Boyter, R –
0  0% Richard “Richie” Hollier, D –
0  0% Ruth W. Johnston, D –
0  0% “Jim” Morris, R –
0  0% Marc Weddleton, R –

State Representative, 4th Representative District
0 of 26 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Larry Ferdinand, D –
0  0% Reginald Johnson, D –
0  0% Calvin “Ben” Lester, Jr., D –
0  0% Patrick C. Williams, D –

State Representative, 40th Representative District
0 of 43 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% “Jim” Darby, D –
0  0% “Chris” Declouette, D –
0  0% Elbert Lee Guillory, D –
0  0% “Bradford” Jackson, N –
0  0% Roderick “Rod” James, D –
0  0% Ledricka Johnson, D –

The 40th district seat, located in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, is the safest Democratic seat with an election on 24 Feb, even if there is a candidate not affiliated with the Democratic Party on the ballot.  The 4th district seat in Shreveport is guaranteed for the Democrats, as only Democrats are on the open primary ballot.  But the 1st district ballot is somewhat worrisome.  Previously held by a Democrat, Rep. Hoppy Hopkins, who recently died of cancer, this is a competitive seat for Republicans: notice how they have three Republicans on the ballot.  Thankfully, we have only two Democrats on the ballot, giving us a chance to at least have one Democrat make the runoff, as Republicans will split their vote between three candidates.  Ruth Johnston, former restaurant owner and populist Justice of the Peace from Oil City, Louisiana (population 1,188), is the strongest Democratic candidate, although she does not have a website.  The other Democratic candidate, Richie Hollier, also lacks a website, and I hope Louisiana Democrats will begin to create campaign websites in the future, for some Republicans, especially those who fashion themselves as so many mindless clones of a David Vitter or a Piyush “Bobby” Jindal, already have. 

Beating Caddo Parish Commissioner Jim Morris in the first distrcit race on 27 FEB will be difficult, even if “Psycho Santa” is tarring the Republican brand with his eccentric marijuana rights platform .  Given the shape of this first district race, I hope you understand why I am so worried about 2007:  Republicans are fielding their best candidates for competitive seats, and Louisiana Democrats believe they can retain their fragile majorities without advanced infrastructure or Internet outreach.  This must change immeidately, and I plan on contacting Chris Whittington at the Louisiana Democratic Party office in Baton Rouge about this problem. 

Although I plan to contact local officials, I also plan to write the DLCC.  We can retain our majority in the Louisiana House of Representatives, but it will take some money, some time and some effort at recruitment.  It will have its dividends, however, as we will control redistrcting in 2010 after setting an overly confident Louisiana GOP to rout.  What better way to prepare Louisiana to vote for a Democratic Presidential candidate than to humiliate their state GOP party organization in a year when they expect to sweep legislative and executive offices throughout the state?

Expect a diary on LA-HD104 once Emile “Peppi” Bruneau’s retirement is confirmed.  This is a race Democrats can and must win before the October 2007 showdown.  And because the netroots was already involved in New Orleans politics with Karen Carter’s bid to oust Bill Jefferson, I imagine a residual infrastructure still exists in order to support this important effort.


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