CAN AN INDEPENDENT SHAKE UP
LOUISIANA GOVERNOR’S RACE?
This fall’s Louisiana governor’s race has settled down into
a four-man contest.
U.S. Senator David
Vitter is far out front, and conventional wisdom points to a
republican-democratic runoff between Vitter and Rep. John Bell Edwards from
But is the current field of
candidates set in stone?
Is there still
room for another major candidate-an Independent?
Senator Vitter’s lead is hefty and he has racked a large war
chest of campaign cash.
But as BayouBuzz
publisher Steve Sabludowsky wrote last week, Louisiana voters have “a long
history of punishing frontrunners and promoting also-rans.”
So is there another candidate out there; a
third party candidate who can swoop in at this late date and make a formable
run for the Governor’s Mansion?
talking about that John Wayne Dude.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City
was in chaos and on the verge of anarchy with little sense of law and
I was there daily and saw it
The calming force that
entered the city leading the
Army's 82nd Airborne division and the 1st Cavalry
was a native Louisianan, General Russell Honore.’ He was widely credited as being the “Rudy Giuliani
of the Gulf Coast” and bringing restraint and stability to the bedlam that had
been taking place.
Since retiring from the Army, the General headed up a national
consulting firm for disaster response, and has written several books, including
nationally acclaimed “Leadership is the New Normal.” He moved back to his home in Point Coupee
Parish, and has become a leading environmental voice in the state.
Gen. Honere’ is telling friends and associates that he is
seriously considering a race for governor, and is confident, with his national
connections, he can raise the necessary funding. And he won’t be caught without an answer in
political debates. During the Katrina
recovery, his comments included; “This is a
Disaster. This isn't something somebody can control. We ain't stuck on stupid.” And my favorite: “I can't swing a dead cat without hitting a
So what political banner will he run under? The Republican field is crowded with three
well-funded candidates in Vitter, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne and PSC member
Scott Angle. And Democrats have been
rallying around John Bell Edwards. So is
there an opening for the General? Yes,
as he contemplates running with support from the fastest growing politically
designated group in the state-Independent voters who have abandoned both
republicans and democrats.
There are some 750,000 independents or “No Party” voters in Louisiana,
roughly 25% of all voters registered throughout Louisiana. If a large majority of these voters, who have
turned their backs on both major parties, could be galvanized behind a
charismatic candidate like Gen Honore’, a run-off spot would be possible. Even if he failed to make the runoff, he
would still be in a position to have a major affect on who gets elected by his
Actually, if Honore’ can rise the necessary funds, he is not
that far behind in getting into the race.
LSU’s Public Policy Research Department has just released a poll showing
that a majority of voters in both parties are paying little attention to the
statewide election that takes place in five months. Fewer than 25% of registered voters are even
following news about the election. So
there is fertile ground for a new entry to gain momentum.
When Gen. Honore’ first arrived in downtown New Orleans by
helicopter, he admonished troops surrounding the Convention Center to: “Put your rifles down. We are here to help these people, not harass
them.” Louisiana certainly needs a lot of help right now. And it has been a longtime in the state
capitol since leadership was anything but normal.
Will this high profile Louisiana heed the call and jump into the
political fray? There is still time to
organize and put together a major campaign.
When or lose, General Honore’ would bring a whole new dimension to the
campaign. And to many voters, that would
be politically refreshing.
can't vote that water out of the city of New Orleans.
Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout
the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns
and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s nationally
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