The 2015 gubernatorial primary is not until October 24 and qualifying is not until September 8-10, but the race is already moving into high gear.
The first forum was held last week before a room full of engineers, contractors, and other business people in Baton Rouge.
The main topic of discussion was highway and infrastructure needs for the state. Of course, other issues were also discussed.
The four announced candidates for governor participated – Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) of Breaux Bridge; Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) of Baton Rouge; state Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) of Amite; and U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) of Metairie.
It could turn out that these four will be the main candidates in the race. Some analysts believe, however, that there could be a surprise or two in the coming months.
Should the four remain the top contenders, political pundits expect that Democrat John Bel Edwards would make the runoff against one of the Republican candidates.
The latest poll on the governor’s race, conducted by Southern Media and Opinion Research (SMOR) of Baton Rouge, had this result: Vitter 36%, Edwards 26%, Dardenne 19%, and Angelle 3%. Sixteen percent of respondents are undecided.
Breakfast with John Bel
This past week, gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards asked me and Linda Talbot to have breakfast with him at Strawn’s. We agreed.
He was accompanied by our mutual friend Linda Day, who was an influential voice in educational affairs in Louisiana and is now a consultant.
Edwards, who is from Amite in Tangipahoa Parish, is a graduate of West Point. After a tour in the Army as a paratrooper, he attended LSU Law School. He is now a practicing attorney with the Edwards and Associates Law Firm.
He comes from a political family, the son of a Tangipahoa Sheriff. A brother is the current sheriff, another brother is the police chief of the town of Independence, and a brother-in-law is a District Court juvenile judge. So it was inevitable that John Bel would also wind up in politics.
He is charismatic, easy to talk to, knowledgeable about the state's problems, and has some definite ideas about how to move Louisiana forward.
We were impressed with his philosophy and his commitment to what will be an expensive and difficult race and the confidence is his ability to win even though he is a Democrat.
You can learn more about him and his philosophy and platform at johnbelforlouisiana.com.
In the coming months, the Fax-Net will have encounters with some of the other candidates running for governor, and we will report on them and let you know how you can find out more about them.