[StBernard] Breaux backs Blanco with big-bucks bash

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Feb 5 18:51:42 EST 2007

Breaux backs Blanco with big-bucks bash
by Jeff Crouere

Many Democrats are praying former Sen. John Breaux will run for governor and
help the party retain the mansion. Unfortunately for them, Breaux is
strongly supporting Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
Breaux is holding a high-dollar fundraiser for Blanco before Washington
Mardi Gras. Blanco will be the guest of honor at the Feb. 7 event at the
Patton Boggs law firm in D.C. Joining Breaux on the host committee is former
Rep. Chris John, D-Crowley, political operative James Carville and
high-powered attorney Tommy Boggs.

Suggested contributions are $1,000 per person and $5,000 per sponsor.
Despite this event and her public statements she intends to campaign for
re-election, speculators say Blanco may not run again because of her low
poll numbers.

If Blanco can turn around her fortunes by taking on the Bush White House and
improving the delivery of The Road Home grants, she may be in a better
situation in the spring.

Republicans running

State Rep. Mike Strain, R-Covington, plans to run for agriculture
commissioner. A veterinarian familiar with agricultural issues, Strain's
district is a mix of urban and rural constituents on the North Shore.

Strain is a solid conservative popular in his district. He will face GOP
opposition from Baton Rouge Councilman Wayne Carter.

Incumbent Bob Odom, the controversial agriculture commissioner, has major
influence on the Louisiana Democratic Party and sends out his own ballot for
major elections.

Odom was criticized for his handling of several building projects, most
recently the ill-fated Bunkie sugar mill. He is also going on trial this
month to face a number of serious charges including bribery.

Odom will still be tough to beat but this election is most opportune for the

Judgeship vacancy in N.O.

After Civil District Court Judge Carolyn Gill Jefferson resigned, it has
been a guessing game in Orleans Parish legal circles about who might run for
her seat.

New Orleans attorney Phil Costa looks like he will be a candidate. Costa, a
Democrat, is close friends with Orleans Parish School Board member Jimmy
Fahrenholtz, who would certainly help his campaign.

Costa's competition includes three African-American Democratic women:
Suzette Bagneris, Tiffany Chase and Charlene Larche.

Bagneris is an attorney from a well-known political family, Chase previously
clerked for Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor and Larche is a former
assistant city attorney for the Nagin administration.

African-American entrant

The Rev. Raymond Brown, Louisiana chairman of the National Action Network
and a well-known African-American activist, is preparing to run for governor
this year. Brown received 2 percent of the vote in the 2002 Senate race and
has run for a variety of other offices.

Brown is a Democrat who could gain some traction this year because many
African-Americans have been upset at Gov. Blanco for the slow government
response to Hurricane Katrina. The Rev. Al Sharpton leads Brown's
organization nationally and could use his influence to help Brown.

District 94 update

When State Rep. Peppi Bruneau, R-New Orleans, announced his early retirement
from the Legislature, most observers believed his son, Republican Jeb
Bruneau, would easily win the March 31 special election.

Nonetheless, someone will likely oppose him with qualifying in a few weeks -
but not former council candidate and attorney Nick Lorusso.

Last week, Lorusso decided not to run, so look for former New Orleans
Councilman Scott Shea, a Democrat, or former Council candidate Sal
Palmisano, a Republican, to enter the race.

Boasso options

Many people have encouraged state Sen. Walter Boasso, R-Arabi, to run for

While Boasso considers the race, look for GOP businessman John Georges to
officially announce his candidacy. Sources report Georges will spend up to
$5 million on the race..

Jeff Crouere is host of "Ringside Politics," which airs at 8:30 p.m. Friday
and 10 p.m. Sunday on WLAE-TV 32 and from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through
Friday on WOMN 1110 AM on the North Shore and KVOL 1330 AM in Lafayette.
Reach him at jeff at ringsidepolitics.com.

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