Blogger and rabble rouser extraordinaire CB Forgotston has landed in an interesting place. Bobby Jindal’s candidate for Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, Neil Riser, advertised that he was the choice of the “TEA Party of Louisiana.” After the thrashing Riser took over the weekend, there are probably many recriminations in the Jindal camp over this latest disaster. Forgotston has dredged up one trivial, but perhaps intriguing, nugget regarding Riser’s astroturf campaign:
If you followed the recent special election for the LA 5th Congressional District you probably read and heard in the state and national paid media that Neil Riser had the endorsement of “The TEA Party of Louisiana.”
If you are as naive as I am, you probably took that to mean that an “umbrella” group of the various TEA Party chapters in LA had come together behind Riser.
Then I began hearing members of local TEA Parties say that Riser had refused to come to various meetings of the groups in the 5th District. Riser’s opponent, now Congressman-Elect Vance McAllister did attend the meeting and had their support.
One day a fellow contacted me claiming to be a member of the TEA Party who was upset that he was getting calls from “The TEA Party of Louisiana” supporting Riser. He said if they didn’t stop calling he was going to quit the TEA Party because he supported McAllister.
So what is going on here? To the untrained eye, the “TEA Party” support would be critical in this ultra-conservative district. Yet, the winner of the contest, newly-minted Congressman Vance Mcallister, supported the Medicaid Expansion under Obamacare. Riser’s consultants tried to smash him with that. Instead, Riser was smashed. What’s going on here? Forgotston has more:
I did a Google search for “The TEA Party of Louisiana.” I turned up a “TEA Party of Louisiana.” It even has a website (here) where they endorsed Neil Riser for the 5thCongressional District.
The website accepts donations via the Internet, but provides no physical location, mailing address or names of the officers.
Next, I checked with the LA Secretary of State’s Website to get more information on the group. There was no “TEA Party of Louisiana” registered.
The closest name I could find was “LOUISIANA TEA PARTY, L.L.C” in Baton Rouge. The mailing address is: C/O CECIL CAVANAUGH, 10165 GRANDEUR, BATON ROUGE, LA 70815
However, this group is listed as “Inactive” by “Action by Secretary of State.”
Who endorsed Riser?
This leaves me with the questions of, other than a website, what or who is the “TEA Party of Louisiana” that endorsed Neil Riser? Who paid for the calls or other activities on Riser’s behalf in the 5th District?
A couple of months ago, when Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory switched back to the Republican Party, he generated statewide and national attention: Guillory is the first Republican African-American member of the Louisiana State Senate since Reconstruction.
This may seem like an important breakthrough for Louisiana Republicans, until you consider that Guillory had been been a Republican up until 2007, when he became a Democrat in order to run for State Representative in a heavily Democratic district.
The annual Redstate conference, spawned by the blog/circle jerk curated by Georgia tea bagger impresario Erik Erikson apparently took place in New Orleans this past weekend. Many conservative luminaries appeared, including intellectual heavyweights Rick Perry and Nikki Haley who were featured speakers, as was teahaddist Ted Cruz. Ever the attention hound, Governor Jindal also graced the stage in front of tri-corner hat wearing activists and various other white nationalists.
One person that wasn’t invited was Louisiana Senate candidate Bill Cassidy. And his absence was conspicuous. Louisiana’s GOP base is heavily populated by the tea bag right, and Cassidy will need these nuts to win.
Unfortunately, Cassidy wasn’t included on the program. In fact, he was hardly acknowledged. And it isn’t a surprise.
“I’m just not a big fan of Bill Cassidy,” Erickson said in an interview Saturday, confirming that an invitation was not extended to Cassidy, who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., next year.
All along, Cassidy has been the candidate of the Republican establishment in DC. They see his moderate record as a controllable alternative to a “wacko bird” like Senators Ted Cruz or Mike Lee. Cassidy, on the other hand, is just a generic republican and someone who will take orders well. This is exactly the type of Republican tea baggers hate.
Attempts to clear the field in Louisiana (including Vitter’s work to sideline rightwing Congressman Fleming from entering the field) for Cassidy show that he isn’t the choice of the activist base. Cassidy’s moderate record and squishiness certainly won’t stand up well under scrutiny of the ’16 LASEN race.
As the redstate snub indicates, Cassidy has a long way to go to activate the tea bag base in Louisiana. And without that motivated core, he’ll have an even tougher time beating Mary Landrieu.
More embarrassingly, Cassidy’s tea bag rival, Rob Maness, was invited to close out the conference. Maness has done very little in terms of fundraising or campaigning, but he shared the final stage as a highlight of the conference. That’s not just a cold shoulder to Cassidy, but rather an ice bath.
The polling collapse continues for Governor Bobby Jindal.
Through the height of Carnival season, we found that a GOP polling firm reported Bobby Jindal’s approval ratings had slipped under the political mendoza line:
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s approval ratings have dipped below 50 percent for the first time, according to a poll released Friday (Feb. 8) by Voter/Consumer Research in Washington, DC. The poll, which also took the temperature of Louisianians on recent national and statewide health-care decisions, highlighted how nearly half of those polled believe the state is on the wrong track.
In fact, this firm (whose only clients are businesses and GOP groups) found that Jindal’s approval just barely broke 49% of those polled. Without a strong track record, it’s hard to understand any bias or trendlines.
Today, the news got even worse for Governor Jindal. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster with a sterling reputation, conducted a poll of Louisianians last week. And their results were even starker:
When PPP last polled Louisiana in 2010, Bobby Jindal was one of the most popular Governors in the country. 58% of voters approved of the job he was doing to just 34% who disapproved. Over the last two and a half years though there’s been a massive downward shift in Jindal’s popularity, and he is now one of the most unpopular Governors in the country. Just 37% of voters now think he’s doing a good job to 57% who are unhappy with him.
Yes, you read that right. 37%.
Barack Obama won 40% of Louisiana’s popular vote in 2012.