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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on March 22, 2007 9:06 PM.

Is History Repeating Itself? was the previous entry in this blog.

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Blanco's Out, Now What?

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On the evening of March 20, 2007 Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco succumbed to the fallout of Hurricane's Katrina and Rita by officially announcing she would not seek re-election. No one, except for Blanco, her family, and possibly her top staff numbers know the true reason she dropped out of the race.

Leaders in the state Democratic Party have been pushing for Blanco to withdraw to open the way for former U.S. Senator John Breaux to step in. Breaux, now a major D.C. lobbyist, moved his driver's license, voter registration, and homestead exemption to Maryland after he left the U.S. Senate in 2005. That raises questions as to whether he could qualify to run since the state constitution requires candidates "have been a citizen of the United States and of this state for at least the preceding five years".

The State Constitution has no legal definition of "citizen", which means this could be open to the courts to decide.

This opens another can of worms for a Breaux candidacy. Many political pundits are saying he should immediately petition for a declaratory judgment, but there are others who say he cannot ask for such a judgment without someone first challenging his claim to state citizenship.

On the surface, it looks like there would be no wait for someone to challenge his citizenry, especially with the T.V. ads being produced by the State Republican Party. However, there is no basis for challenging his citizenry until he is an official candidate for governor and that cannot happen until qualifying opens up the first week of September.

This campaign is already warming up and will go full blast once the legislative session ends June 28, five weeks before qualifying begins. The State Democratic Party will not be able to take a chance on wasting those five weeks on a candidate who may be kicked out of the race for legal reasons.

On the flip side, the Republican Party may not necessarily challenge Breaux's citizenry. Although they don't have a problem taking their case to the public through media ads, they will be a little more hesitant bringing this to a court. They will not want to let this decision rest in the hands of a Democrat leaning state court system, lose this battle and give Breaux a legitimizing factor in the days leading up to the election. By not bringing this case in front of a judge, they can take the high road and say they did not stand in the way of Breaux's entry into the race.

It is still too early to get a clear consensus on poll numbers for a two-way race between Breaux and Republican front-runner Bobby Jindal, but earlier polls, with Blanco still in the race, have shown conflicting numbers. Sometimes Jindal wins and other times Breaux wins. With Blanco out, if Breaux's numbers start topping Jindal's, expect the Republican National Committee to start putting pressure on Jindal to drop out.

The RNC is not going to want to support a losing gubernatorial candidate one year before they expect a bruising battle for Senator Mary Landrieu's seat.

The ball is now in John Breaux's court. His decision to run or not will influence a lot of other decisions, the question is how and only time will tell. Thankfully this season of American Idol will be over by the time this campaign is full blast.

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3 Comments

Do you think that the Republicans can/should challenge Breaux's LA citizenry after a win by him? I don't know if it would be too late then.

Should the Republicans challenge Breaux's citizenship, it will happen as soon as he qualifies, they will not wait until after the election. If they wait, it will be too late. Under state law, you only have ten days to challenge whether or not a candidate is legally qualified for a race.

John Scurich said:

Westley,

I could not agree more with your analysis of this entire "Democratic Circus" for the Governor's race.

What I find funny about all this is has anyone questioned if John Breaux "really" wants to be Governor. A year ago he publicly stated he had no interest in being the Governor of Louisiana. When asked in early 2003 before the last governor's race, he gave the same answer. Why the sudden change of heart? Or, has he truly had a change of heart? The answer is NO.

John Breaux wants to be governor of this state about as much as I want to jump of the south rim of the Grand Canyon to see if I can flap my arms fast enough to sustain flight. So, what's behind all this? As you eluded to, Westley, it's the Democratic Party - or more specifically, the "elitest" Democrats in Washington D.C. that couldn't give a rat's hoot about Louisiana and our state's future.

What you see going on here with the National Democratic Party is nothing more than party politics for selfish gain. What's the "gain?" Westley this is where the conversion we recently had didn't dwelve into, but it's all about reapportionment. Yep, that's what this whole political deal making is about - who is going to control where the lines are going to be drawn for future state and federal legislative districts.

So you see, the DNC and the RNC could care less about those of us suffering in Louisiana. They're only worried about who's going to get to hold the pen to draw up legislative district boundaries on a map page.

As far as Breaux goes, he's a nice enough guy, but if "anyone" thinks he's a step in the right direction - a "progressive" direction - then let me tell you right now you couldn't be more wrong - and that's a fact, not my opinion.

John Breaux is deeply entrenched with Louisiana's past of Edwin Edwards and the good ole boys system of running Louisiana. If you think he would be a progressive governor - guess again. And Breaux would probably would have enough gutts to admit it. Breaux is not looking for change. Hell, he hasn't even been here that much over the past few years to know what we even need to change to.

Put it this way, if the worth of Louisiana's political environment was gauged like that of a stock market index, after Blanco's annoucement and all these apparent party deals going down, our stock would start looking like that of Winn-Dixie's.

It is time for all Louisianians to start looking at which candidates for Governor are in the race to truly change Louisiana for the better and which ones are in it just to hold the office for their respective National Party.

- John Scurich

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