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Tuesday, 25 January 2011 21:13

Louisiana Politics: Replacing Buddy Shaw, Obama's Popularity

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Political wildfire
    The surprising news that Republican state Sen. B.L. “Buddy” Shaw would not seek a second term in the state Senate – reported first here in the Fax-Net – set off a political wildfire among potential candidates for the District 37 seat.
    Names of potential candidates started raining down from the political skies.  Among them are: Republicans state Rep. Jane Smith, state Rep. Thomas Carmody, former state Rep. Mike Powell, former state Sen. Max Malone, former Shreveport mayoral candidate Jerry Jones, Barrow Peacock, former state Rep. Billy Montgomery, District C Councilman Oliver Jenkins, Ryan Wooley (Bryan’s brother), and Democratic former city councilman Monty Walford.

    Smith, who is term-limited in House District 8, wasted no time in throwing her hat into the race.  There were rumors that she was thinking about running against Shaw, so his retirement made it an easy decision for the former educator and Bossier Superintendent of Schools.
    In a press release, Smith said: “Senate District 37 is a good fit for me with my conservative approach to government, a proven record of supporting business, pro-life and pro-family and have made it clear that I am not supporting taxes to balance the budget and that I voted against the legislative pay raise.”
    Smith added: “I will be making a more formal announcement with friends and supporters at a later date, but thought it was vital to let the people of this district know of my intentions to run in the upcoming fall election.”
    None of the other aforementioned potential candidates have officially declared their intentions to run, but some are thinking about it and some have already opted out.  Let’s take a look at them in alphabetical order:
   State Rep. Thomas Carmody – Carmody, who is completing his first term as the representative of House District 6, said he plans  on running for re-election in his House district.  But he did not close the door entirely on the open Senate seat, saying that he will keep his options open.
    City Councilman Oliver Jenkins – The mention of Oliver Jenkins, a new face on the political scene, as a potential candidate created quite a buzz in political circles.  
    He was elected to the District C council seat  last year with 84% of the vote and is regarded as a rising political star in this area.  He was elected chairman for 2011 in his first year on the council.
    Jenkins told the Fax-Net: “I am flattered that  people are interested in my potential candidacy.  However, I am currently very focused on carrying out my responsibilities on the city council.  I am excited about our potential positive impact on Shreveport’s future, and I remain fully committed to that end.”
    Jerry Jones – Jones ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2006, but ever since his name pops up whenever there is a vacancy in an elected office.
    His name has been mentioned frequently by politicos as a desirable candidate for the state Senate seat.  When contacted, Jones told the Fax-Net: “I never say never, but the timing is not good for me right now.”
    He added that he is involved in a lot of projects with his law firm, Bradley Murchinson Kelly & Shea, and does not have the time a campaign would demand and, if elected, the demands that come with being a state senator.
    Former state Sen. Max Malone – Sources report that Malone wants to go back to the state Senate.  He held the seat for three terms from 1995-2007.  However, Malone did not return phone calls to his office and home by press deadline.  Malone ran for mayor in 2006 and received 1% of the vote.
   Former state Rep. Billy Montgomery – Montgomery, who now works for the Bossier Parish Police Jury, lost to Shaw in the runoff in 2007 by a 57-43% margin.  He told the Fax-Net that he is not running.
    “I like my job and enjoy working with the people to make things better in the parish, area, and state.  The Bossier Parish Police Jury is very progressive and that is important in this free world.  The Bossier Courthouse personnel work well together and that’s important to the citizens of Bossier Parish.”
    Montgomery added, “Dr. Shaw’s announcement about term limits has some merit.  The law may need to be adjusted.  Baton Rouge never needs to get like Washington, D.C.  If term limits help keep this from happening, so be it.”
   Former state Rep. Mike Powell – Powell, who served on the Caddo School Board, and was elected to the House District 6 seat in 2003 and re-elected without opposition in 2007, told the Fax-Net he will not run.  
    He abruptly resigned his House seat in December 2007 after his re-election because of family concerns.
    “Currently, I am very much enjoying the extra time I now have with my children – four of whom are teenagers – my new marriage and my diverse work opportunities, including those with the Haynesville Shale,” Powell said.
    He noted that he was flattered to be considered as a potential candidate, adding, “There is always a time and season for all things, and for now I am focusing and enjoying my family and work and therefore will not be candidate in this race.”
    Powell said that Shaw leaves big shoes to fill.  “Buddy served our area with honor, distinction, and effectiveness,” he noted.
   Barrow Peacock – Peacock, who ran for the Senate District 37 seat in 2007, finishing third in the primary with 18% of the vote, told the Fax-Net: “I am very honored by the many friends who are asking me to run for the Legislature.  I am interested in running for a seat in the Legislature, but until redistricting has occurred, I cannot make an informed decision whether I will be running for the House or the Senate.”
    He added, “I believe a state legislator can be effective in either chamber to move our community and state forward.”
   Former City Councilman Monty Walford – The only Democrat on the long list of potential candidates, Walford served two terms on the Shreveport City Council.   
    Walford said: “I am seriously considering a run for the District 37 Senate seat.  I have certainly been encouraged by the support that I have been offered this past week.  I will have an announcement in the near future.”
   Ryan Wooley – Ryan Wooley is the brother of Bryan Wooley, who recently ran unsuccessfully for mayor.  Amy Jones, a spokesperson for Wooley, said that Ryan has received phone calls encouraging him to run because of his successful background with his business, Adverpod, a digital media company.
    Presently, Wooley is engaging in conversations with potential supporters and will make a decision which he feels is in the best interest for north Louisiana, Jones related.
    So, the situation is this.  Of all the names mentioned, potential candidates are now reduced significantly.  Unless there are some other potential candidates out there who have not come forward, the ballot for the Senate District 37 seat could be a short one.
    Smith is in.  Peacock, Walford, and Wooley are giving the race consideration.  Carmody is keeping his options open.  Malone remains a question mark.

From Opinion
Stop the Presses!
By Lou Gehrig Burnett

FAX-NET UPDATE is published weekly and delivered to your home or office by fax or e-mail. Subscription rates are: $50 for 12 months (50 issues) or $35 for six months. To subscribe, send check or money order to: Fax-Net Update, P.O. Box 44522, Shreveport, LA 71134. If you have questions, tips or want to do a guest column, call 861-0552 or send e-mail to [email protected]. Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher. 

Other Political News by

United States Senators Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. and Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today sent letters to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Karen Mills and Inspector General Peg Gustafson requesting recommendations for programs within the SBA that could be eliminated or substantially reduced, without undermining the agency’s ability to serve the needs of small business owners.


January 25, 2011 
Anzalone Liszt Research
National Polling Summary

(Anzalone Liszt Research has polled for the Democratic Party and numerous democratic national candidates)

As Obama heads into his second state of the union address, we'd like to reflect on Obama's first two years as president and prejudge the tea-leaf-reading what will inevitably surround the State of the Union Address today.


Obama's first two years, from a polling perspective: According to Gallup, by far the best source for polling numbers more than a decade old, Obama's average job approval rating is 46% over the last three months. This is up from his quarterly nadir of 44.7% last quarter-in fact, Obama has recently been posting some of his best job approval rating since 2009, and Gallup's three-day rolling average has him at 51% approve / 42% disapprove as of Jan 17-19. Where does Obama's 46% average for the eighth quarter stack up against previous presidents over the same time period?

·         Ahead of Obama:Kennedy (75%), Eisenhower (65%), G. W. Bush, (64%), G. H. W. Bush, (63%), Nixon (55%), Carter (49%)..

·         Behind Obama: Clinton (44%), Reagan (41%)


So Obama is behind the curve, as far as Gallup's numbers go. But does it mean anything? A couple points: 


1)      Everyone's a critic in the Information Age.Average eighth-quarter job approval for presidents before 1980 (the year CNN went on the air): 61%. Average eighth-quarter job approval of presidents since 1980: 52%.


2)      Second-year job approval numbers have no statistical relation to reelection. Average eighth-quarter job approval of presidents who won reelection: 54%. Average job approval of those who didn't: 56%. Notably, the two presidents with the worst eighth-quarter job approval rating (Clinton and Reagan) went on to win in relative walks, while only Eisenhower won handily of the three highest-rated that stood for reelection (the Bushes went 1-1, one of them going down big and the other winning in a dogfight). There's a lot of time between January 2011 and November 2012.


3)      High unemployment exacerbated Reagan's problems in his second year, and dropping unemployment rates boosted his reelection campaign. There are some potential parallels between Reagan and Obama in this data.. The unemployment ratewent from a high of 10.8% in December 1982 (the last month of Reagan's eighth quarter) down to 7.4% in October 1984, the month before he was reelected. The link between the economy and presidential reelectionhas been well explored in other places.


4)      As if we needed further evidence, polling is the body politic's drug du jour: In the first two years of every president's term since Eisenhower (not including Obama), Gallup conducted 197 polls, an average of 24.6 polls per president. George W. Bush was the most-polled president at 46 polls. In Obama's first two years? 347 polls, almost twice the other nine presidents combined over the same time span. Furthermore, organizations besides Gallup have released an additional 20 public polls of Obama's job performance since January 1, according to


State of the Union polling: what does it all mean, if anything? The State of the Union is of course an important event that allows the President to set his agenda for the year in front of Congress and the American people. However, we can expect a barrage of polling and related coverage next week that overhypesand misinterprets the speech's impact. Here's what we really know about State of the Union speeches:


1)      There is typically no "State of the Union" bump. Again, Gallup has pretty good historical data, and it shows no real changein a President's job approval after the state of the union in almost every case. Over the last 31 years while Gallup has been tracking this data, the President's job approval has gone down an average of 0.03%--obviously well­within the margin of error. The only notable exceptions are George W. Bush in 2005 (6 point improvement) and Clinton in 1996 (6 point improvement) and 1998 (10 point improvement).


2)      With that said, a substantial number of people tune in for the speech. Last year, the address averaged more than 48 million viewers-for comparison, about 125 million voters voted in the 2008 presidential election, with just under 67 million of them voting for Obama. Next Tuesday, President Obama will have one of the largest public audiences of his presidency-the speech's agenda-setting ability is far more important than its ability to boost the President's numbers.


3)      The public supports a physical as well as political crossing of the aisle during the speech. According to CNN, Americans strongly support Senator Mark Udall's (D-CO) idea to end the middle school dance  style seatingof the State of the Union and make the Democrats and Republicans sit next to each other. Seventy two percent of voters think parties should sit next to each other (PDF) while only 22% think they should sit on opposite sides of the room. Most likely to support the separation: conservatives (36%), and Republicans (38%), Tea Party supporters (37%), and men (27%).

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