Thursday, 28 April 2011 16:22

Pinsonat Talks Louisiana Elections, Jindal, Legislature, Redistricting

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Bernie PinsonatAlthough it is still early 2011, the Louisiana air is consumed with politics considering the passing of the special session focused upon redistricting, the current Louisiana regular session, and Louisiana elections involving the re-election efforts of Governor Bobby Jindal and statewide office holders.  Bayoubuzz has asked Southern Media And Opinion Research's  (SMOR)  Bernie Pinsonat the following questions involving these issues:


With the redistricting session now over and with the regular session now upon us, do you believe there is any carry-over from the special session that could impact the regular session?

Nothing happened in the redistricting special session that will impact this current session. The redistricting session was more of the same as the legislature followed Governor Jindal’s wishes on the congressional redistricting.  “Legislative independences” are not part of this legislature’s personality makeup. Unfortunately for them, as of today, they are best known for their attempt to give themselves a pay raise. This legislature is made up of lots of good and capable men and women – unfortunately for this legislature, they have zero identity. When you have a major screw up like the attempted pay raise – you need to get credit for something besides helping governor Jindal’s re-election PR effort!


Governor Jindal reportedly has about 9.5 million dollars in his campaign war chest.  Given this substantial amount of money without any opposition, can the Governor use any of the money to further his agenda in the regular session, assist other republicans running for office while also benefiting his own campaign? If so, how?


The governor does not need to spend his campaign money on his legislative agenda. He has total access to voters through the media. He could use some of his campaign money to assist fellow republican legislators as they run for reelection / not likely with John Gorge sitting there with ten million dollars in his campaign account.


There has been quite a lot of speculation across the state regarding the recent announcement that former gubernatorial candidate John Georges has contributed 10.1 million dollars to an unspecified statewide campaign.  What do you think is going on?  If you believe he will be running for a statewide office, which one?


If nothing else John George did get lots of free publicity for himself with just the mere transfer of money to his campaign account – of course putting up ten million is the ultimate attention getter. I have no inside information on what John Georges is planning this fall – he is a very successful and powerful businessman who obviously is dead set on getting elected to a powerful political position. Timing is everything in politics – John George seems to have very little patience with this mind set – Jindal was going to be elected Governor – John George found out he could do nothing to stop that – not even spending ten million plus dollars from his own pocket. He only has three choices to run for this fall – governor, Lt Governor or secretary of state. He could run for Secretary of state – why – timing! Jindal is likely to become the US Senator in 2014 – Dardenne becomes governor – an ambitious secretary of state is almost a lock cinch to replace Dardenne as lieutenant governor! Does John George have the patience to wait around for three or four years? Probably not – John George wants to be governor today!

 Jindal promises that he will veto tax increases yet already his plan to sell prisons has hit a bump.  In the past he has been very successful in the legislative sessions. Do you think he will be able to keep his pledge?

Well guess what, some members of the legislature have show a bit of independence on the prison sale. Governor Jindal can replace this money with the expected funds made available when the revenue estimating conference meets in the month. After touting he will veto any tax increase for past three years, it would be political suicide for him to sign legislation that raised any new taxes. 

What impact will the fall elections have upon the legislative session?

The fall elections have an impact on every legislative session during an election year. By impact I mean avoid controversy at all cost.  Controversial legislation usually dies quickly in committee.  The governor and legislators try to keep controversy to a bare minimum. Why did Governor Jindal drop his prison sale legislation? The sale of these prisons was too controversial. Passing education reform, selling prisons or upsetting large and powerful special interest that could affect election outcomes this fall is to be avoided!


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