Louisiana Politics: National political group is targeting Gov. Edwards
America Rising Squared and America Rising PAC have been reaching out to reporters in Louisiana on a regular basis since December to push alternative takes on stories involving Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Budget stories and the administration’s approach to revenue have been the focus so far.
The conservative group, which largely plays in national politics, is no stranger to Louisiana’s federal races. But its interest in a statewide post is something new.
Jeremy Adler, a spokesperson for America Rising Squared, said his organization “likes to keep tabs on all Democrats running for or in office and seek to highlight their vulnerabilities.”
But he added that Edwards is near the top of their list in terms of governors around the country.
“Obviously, John Bel Edwards is going to be a ripe target through 2019, so we definitely plan to keep tabs on him for now and make sure that people in Louisiana and across the country see that he’s taking the state in the wrong direction,” said Adler.
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ re-election campaign has raised $3.6 million since he was elected governor in 2015, according to a new annual report filed with the state Board of Ethics last week.
Overall the governor’s campaign raised $3.2 million in calendar year 2016, and it closed the year with $3.2 million in the bank.
The governor has repeatedly said that he intends to run for re-election in 2019 and he appears to have a very aggressive approach to fundraising.
There were 1,636 contributors in 2016 to the governor’s campaign last year.
But he did take a break from the pace during the legislative sessions last year and during the police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge or the historic floods that momentarily crippled portions of the state.
By comparison, former Gov. Kathleen Blanco raised $1.8 million in her first year in office, including $1.6 million from Louisiana. Former Gov. Bobby Jindal raised nearly $2.5 million in his first year, including $25 million from in-state donors.
Rainwater for FEMA?
Paul Rainwater, a lobbyist with Cornerstone Government Affairs, has confirmed that he’s under consideration for the top job with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Rainwater, who ran the Louisiana Recovery Authority following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, is no stranger to a crisis.
He served in similar leadership roles under former Govs. Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal.
Rainwater is said to have been in touch with the administration of President Donald Trump.
Treasurer candidate launches whistleblower site
As lawmakers prepare for a regular legislative sessions where the budget will take centerstage, Rep. John Schroder’s campaign for treasurer has quietly launched a new website — StopLouisianaWaste.com — that allows anyone to “anonymously report state waste.”
“We talk about state government waste but we don’t really know how bad it is or how deep it goes,” said Schroder, R-Covington. “I intend to find out.”
A more civil tone on The Hill
A bipartisan group of 46 freshman members of the 115th U.S. Congress are backing a “Commitment to Civility” document that was drafted by Congressman Mike Johnson.
A Republican from Shreveport who was elected last fall, Johnson said the issue will eventually be debated on the floor.
The exercise is meant to “restore collegiality, trust and civility to the Congress, encourage productive dialogue, and work to build consensus and the public’s trust in America’s institutions.”
Political History: The house
that Huey Long built
This spring will mark the 85th anniversary (May 16, 1932) of the dedication of the state Capitol building in Baton Rouge.
The Capitol is 450 feet tall and has 34 stories, including a couple that are not open to the public.
According to documents maintained by the National Register of Historic Places, one of those private spaces can be found on the 24th floor, where late Gov. Huey Long kept an apartment.
While it was a lofty perch from which to view his political empire, Long insisted that his bouts with hay fever were alleviated by being at that height, away from south Louisiana’s pollen and dust.
The building, a National Historic Landmark, is the tallest capitol building in the nation and is lovingly known as the “house that Huey built.” (The Kingfish used money that his office controlled to get construction started.)
It cost $5 million to build and was overseen by architect Leon C. Weiss — in fact it only took a year and a half for the building to be designed, constructed and ornamented.
It’s also not a completely hometown production. The Louisiana Capitol was actually modeled after the Nebraska State Capitol and its exterior is made of Alabama limestone.
When asked by his staff what should be done with the Old State Capitol, Long remarked, “Turn it over to some collector of antiques.”
While Long’s legacy and Louisiana’s Capitol will forever be linked, the infamous governor actually missed the dedication of the building because he was in Washington, D.C.
They said it
“The reason I wear cowboy boots is because it gets pretty deep around here.”
—Sen. Barrow Peacock, standing on the Senate floor
“That’s a load of bull, and we all know it.”
—Sen. Neil Riser, on state spending efficiencies, in The Monroe News-Star
For more Louisiana political news, visit www.LaPolitics.com or follow Jeremy Alford on Twitter @LaPoliticsNow.