[StBernard] Boasso switched...

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Apr 26 22:35:52 EDT 2007

BATON ROUGE -- State Sen. Walter Boasso, an announced candidate for
governor, switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party on Thursday,
the secretary of state's office said.

Boasso, of Arabi, filed the paperwork with the St. Bernard Parish registrar
of voters, according to the secretary of state's office. Boasso has long
complained that the state Republican Party threw all its support behind U.S.
Rep. Bobby Jindal for this fall's governor's election.

Boasso becomes the second major Democratic name against Jindal, who leads in
the polls. The other is Foster Campbell, a member of the Public Service
Commission from north Louisiana.

Neither Boasso nor James Hartman, Boasso's press secretary, immediately
returned calls for comment.

Campbell said he was not bothered to have another Democrat in the race.
Campbell said he would continue campaigning on his idea of eliminating the
state income tax and imposing new fees on energy companies.

"It doesn't bother me at all. Not one bit," said Campbell, of Elm Grove.
"It's OK. I'm running, I've been in the race since Christmas. I'm the
Democrat. I've been a lifelong Democrat.

Boasso's switch is the latest development in a race that has featured plenty
of twists on the Democratic side, including Gov. Kathleen Blanco's decision
not to run for a second term and former U.S. Sen. John Breaux's decision not
to enter the race, after weeks of speculation. Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu,
another Democrat, also toyed with a run for governor but decided to run for
re-election instead.

In the fundraising contest, Jindal has raised $5.3 million. Another
Republican candidate, New Orleans businessman John Georges, has lent his own
campaign $5.5 million.

Boasso has already spent over $600,000, much of it his own money, on things
including television and radio advertising. He also received over $90,000
from 43 donors.

Boasso's campaign is centered on his pledge to hold a constitutional
convention to rewrite the state's main governing document and give regular
citizens the ability to help guide its drafting. A freshman senator, he has
long said he cares little for party politics and wants to focus instead on
fixing problems in Louisiana's government.

A self-made millionaire, Boasso is best known as the chief backer of a plan
to consolidate the fractured system of levee boards in southeast Louisiana.
He pushed such a plan through the Legislature last year, after drawing
support from Blanco and community and business groups in the New Orleans

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