Candidates are already lining up to run for the position this October. Leading the pack so far are two declared candidates.
William Harold Nungesser, better known as “Billy” Nungesser has already thrown his hat in the ring. It’s not the first lieutenant governor’s rodeo for him. He ran against and lost to current Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne in 2011 by a 53-47% margin.
Nungesser, a Republican, served two terms as president of Plaquemines Parish from 2006-2014, when he was term-limited. He became nationally known for his television appearances during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and was called “The Face of the Oil Spill” by the media covering the event.
Nungesser comes from a political family. His late father Billy Sr. was chief-of-staff for Gov. David Treen from 1980-84 and later chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party. His mother was also active in GOP political circles.
Another declared candidate is Republican John Young Jr, who is serving his first term as president of Jefferson Parish. He is a former assistant district attorney and served for six years as councilman-at-large before being elected president.
Also considering the race is Melvin “Kip” Holden, an African-American Democrat, who is president of East Baton Rouge Parish. Prior to being elected president, he served one term as a state representative and two years as a state senator.
Another potential candidate is state Sen. Elbert Guillory, an African-American Republican-turned Democrat-turned Republican.
He was a Republican, but switched to Democrat in 2007 when he ran – and won -- for state representative in a majority-black district. In 2009, he was elected to the state Senate. In 2013, he switched back to Republican, among mich hoopla by GOP commentators and columnists.
Whether he runs is unclear because he would have to give up his state Senate seat. And it is not known how much opposition he would face in a state Senate re-election bid running as a Republican in a majority- black district.
The money picture
Currently, it is possible that there will be two white Republicans, one black Republican, and one black Democrat on the ballot for lieutenant governor. If that is the case, it would make the dynamics of the race very interesting.
In campaign finance reports, which cover the year 2014, Republicans Billy Nungesser and John Young are far ahead in the money-raising department.
Nungesser reported that he had $1.5 million on hand at the beginning of 2014, raised $1.3 million during the year, spent $636,000, and has $2.2 million on hand as ofDecember 31. However, $900,000 of that is Nungesser’s own money he loaned to his committee.
Young had $1.5 million on hand at the beginning of 2014, raised $464,000, spent $142,000, and has $1.8 million on hand as ofDecember 31.
In 2014, with both candidates known to be seeking the lieutenant governor’s position, Young raised $451,000 and Nungesser $430,000.
Kip Holden has only $31,000 in his campaign fund and Elbert Gullory has a deficit.
Update on governor’s race
As the race for Louisiana governor moves into full swing in 2015, there are four major players on the campaign trail.
Here is an update on how much money each of the candidates has in their campaign fund as ofDecember 31.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) – $4.1 million.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) – $1.6 million.
Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) – $1.5 million.
John Bel Edwards (D) – $746,000.
Of course, the hunt for money is moving into high gear and will likely continue until the primary election, which is onOctober 24. Qualifying is September. 8-10.
The next campaign finance report is due at the Louisiana Ethics Administration on April 27 and will cover the period fromJanuary 1 through April 17, 2015. We will have an update at that time.
Alexander’s winding political road
Remember Rodney Alexander? To refresh your memory, here is his winding political road, which has been a long one.
Alexander served in the U.S. House from 2003 until 2013 when he abruptly resigned and became embroiled in what many claim was a plot to get state Sen. Neil Riser, an ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal, elected to his seat.
Adding fuel to the political fire was the fact that Jindal appointed Alexander as Louisiana Secretary of Veteran Affairs. The plan didn’t work and Riser lost to Vance McAllister, who was endorsed by the Duck Dynasty clan, in the runoff 60-40%.
From his post as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Alexander hinted he may run for governor in 2015. But that lofty goal was not in the cards for him, and he resigned the state job in June 2014 after serving only nine months.
It’s been a long political road for Alexander, who was born in Bienville Parish and later resided in Jonesboro. He served on the Jackson Parish Police Jury from 1972-1978 when he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representative where he served until 2002.
In the 2002 election, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. But in his first re-election in 2004, he switched to the Republican Party just 20 minutes before the end of qualifying.
The move to the GOP caught Democrats by surprise, and they were outraged, with some Democratic Party leaders calling him a coward because it was too late for a Democrat to qualify.
Alexander rose in stature in the U.S. House and eventually became dean of the Louisiana House delegation. He resigned in September 2013.
So after 42 years in elected office and nine months in an appointed office, what is Alexander, who will be 69 years old this year, going to do now?
Voila! He is becoming a lobbyist and going back to D.C. to represent the Lafayette-based Picard Group. End of story.