Weekend Reading: Fayard Has a Shot
My friend Lamar White published an in-depth look at how Louisiana’s United States Senate race is shaping up this year. In case you forgot, this is the seat currently occupied by Senator David Vitter who announced following his gubernatorial defeat that he would not seek reelection for his current post.
Here are some fun Cliff’s Notes on some of the candidates…
- Congressman Dr. Charles Boustany is apparently also known as “Lord Boustany” and an experienced medical malpractitioner.
- Congressman Dr. John Fleming is obviously the people’s candidate, struggling to get by on about $400,000/year after taxes, business costs, and buying groceries for his family.
- State Treasurer John Kennedy, a Democrat Republican born in Mississippi with degrees from Vanderbilt, UVA Law, and Oxford, just wants to serve the regular folks. He really hates those Washington politicians and has only run for statewide office 8 times, including two losses as a Democrat and one as a Republican (and two of the losses came just one year after winning a race for a different office). Incidentally, there’s an obscure YouTube account called “KennedyForWhatever,” in case you have some time to kill.
- Rumored candidate Foster Campbell is, judging by his current website, simply the Public Service Commissioner from Elm Grove, Louisiana.
But for this short piece, I want to focus on the candidate who might just add the most intrigue to this year’s contest – Caroline Fayard.
Lamar predicts that Kennedy and Fayard will make it to the December runoff, and I think he’s at least half right in that regard. I’m not sure that Kennedy will get there once the other Republicans start chipping away at his serial-statewide-candidate-name-recognition-generated initial lead. But based on current facts, it seems likely that Fayard will.
First, Lamar reviews Fayard’s impressive 2010 special election run for Lieutenant Governor against well-known political powerhouse Jay Dardenne:
In 2010, Fayard, then only 33 years old, ran for Lt. Governor in a field of eight candidates, shocking much of the political establishment and the media when she finished a close second to outgoing Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, earning 24% to his 28%. Some Republican strategists blamed Fayard’s surprising second-place finish to the poorer-than-expected showing by country music star Sammy Kershaw, who finished in third with 19%. However, Fayard also had to overcome two Democratic challengers, Shreveport attorney Jim Crowley and State Senator Butch Gautreaux.
Fayard ultimately lost in the run-off to Dardenne, but still managed to capture 44% of the vote or more than 540,000 voters, an impressive margin for a neophyte candidate running against someone who had already won eight consecutive elections, including two statewide elections. “Intelligent, attractive and well-spoken, Fayard is the type of political newcomer that voters tend to want to encourage,” the late John Maginnis wrote at the time.
Later, Lamar succinctly explains Fayard’s current posture:
Fayard, as she proved in 2010, is willing to work harder than anyone else on the campaign trail. Already, she has quietly assembled an experienced team of professionals; opened up two different campaign offices- one in New Orleans and a headquarters in Baton Rouge; she has been touring the state on an almost daily basis, and she has been persistently raising money from all corners of Louisiana.
It’s far too early to predict how this race will go, and I think there’s going to be at least a few twists and turns. In the meantime, read Lamar’s full article here.