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Wednesday, 12 October 2011 19:23

Louisiana Lt. Governor Race: Polls, Abortion, Scandals And Vitter

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NungesserFor those dying for substantive debates related to functions of the Louisiana Lt. Governor’s race, think again.  There are many more meatier and spicier matters to be discussed these days.  For instance, there’s the issue of polls.  Then, there is the main course in Louisiana politics-- campaign attacks and the sleaze factors.    

 First, for appetizers, let’s look at the Poll menus:   

Unlike a poll by the blog site, The Hayride and a local pollster, which claimed the Louisiana Lt. Governor’s race and the state’s Secretary of State Election were in a virtual dead heat, a new WWL-TV Clarus Research Group Poll conducted by Dr. Ron Faucheaux presents incumbent Jay Dardenne with a big lead over his challenger Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.   

The poll also shows House Speaker Jim Tucker ahead of current acting Secretary of State Tom Schedler by a margin of five points in that state’s race.

The telephone survey of 602 scientifically-selected likely voters was conducted Oct. 5-7.

In an interview with WWL, Faucheaux noted the following:


“He was just elected to lieutenant governor last year and he does have higher statewide recognition than Billy Nungesser has right now,” said Faucheux. “That is an advantage.” 

It reveals Dardenne leading Nungesser by 18 percent among Republicans. Both men are Republicans. Dardenne leads the race by 13 percent among Democrats and leads by a narrower 3 percent among independents. Dardenne won Tea Party supporters by 13 percent.

“One of the things Nungesser will be trying to do is to improve his position among Tea Party voters,” Faucheux said.


However, that task might be somewhat daunting since it has been reported that Nungesser is also trying to reach out to black leaders, whose views are generally inapposite to that of the Tea Party.   But, in fairness, Nungesser is a persuasive man who seems to get along with just about everyone (excepting for the Obama Administration, Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineeers), which actually is a big positive now-a-days in South Louisiana.  

Regarding the Secretary of State Race, Faucheaux stated: 


Tucker leads Schedler 25 percent to 20 percent in the WWL-TV survey, but the undecided vote is significant. 55 percent of those surveyed said they don't know who they would vote for.

“That means anything could happen in this race in the last week or two,” Faucheux said.

The poll finds no strong regional factors.

“Most voters in the state don't know these candidates,” Faucheux said.”

Now, for the main dish—Louisiana attacks and sleaze:

Nungesser, who claims to sport a substantial campaign money advantage over his Republican rival has launched new attacks against Dardenne.


Radio spots released today hit Dardenne on the theme that the former state Senator is a liberal on fiscal matters.  Another radio spot brought up what some might call the new Scarlet “A”—Abortion issue.  The Nungesser ad claims that Dardenne did not oppose a pro-life measure when he was a legislator.  Both of the ads are now on the Nungesser web site.


By the way, Dardenne has also called Nungesser a “liberal” stating he had given a contribution for mega-Democrat, California Senator Barbara Boxer.


But, the third attack is even more interesting to say the least, for a number of reasons.  However, at the time of publication of this column, this upcoming blast cannot be found on the Nungesser web site but located elsewhere.


Actually, the same blog, Hayride, which ran the poll stating that the Nungesser-Dardenne race was essentially dead even, released a new nugget today stating that

Meanwhile, Nungesser uncorked an attack of his own this afternoon which hit Dardenne for what the challenger’s camp says was a moral/ethical transgression from back in 1993…….


“The complaint was made by Kent Gates, a political consultant working with the Nungesser campaign”


The essence of the complaint according to a letter sent to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (letter also on the Hayride website) is summed up as follows:

“Mr. Dardenne is alleged to have represented a person as counsel whom he had a personal relationship, and according to the information she provided me failed to compensate her for the settlement.”


Kent Gates is a Senior Strategist at BrabenderCox. BrabenderCox is handlng media for Nungesser. BrabenderCox also masterfully handled David Vitter's advertising during Vitter's slam US Senate victory over Charlie Melancon, last fall.  

Vitter is a strong supporter of Nungesser and of Jim Tucker and has written a number of letters on Nungesser’s behalf during this election season. 

The line of attack against Nungesser gets even more wondrous.  Years ago, no less than James Gill of the Times Picayune wrote that Nungesser was a visitor to the Canal Street Madam’s brothel, a claim later supported by the Madam.  The Canal Street Madam later pointed a finger at Vitter during the heyday of Vitter’s “Washington Madam” scandal.  News stories later cast some doubt on the Canal Street Madam's assertion regarding Vitter.  The New Orleans madam made the same claims about Nungesser as she appeared in other venues and media.    


Vitter, of course, won his election big, despite those allegations against him.  Voters in that race seem to overwhelming say that his personal life was not relevant to his official duties as U.S. Senator.  His Senatorial victory occurred notwithstanding claims that he had aided in prostitution-- a charge made irrelevant due to the statute of limitations.  Last year, you recall, Vitter’s running mate was Barack Obama, who could do no wrong in ensuring Vitter’s victory.


So, with slightly more than one week to go in this election, the relevant and relative abilities and platforms of the two who aim to be our next Lt. Governor and possibly our next Governor is not getting much focus.  Instead, the real story is who's winning and the trappings of sex, sins and scandals.  And, you know what?  Something tells me this trend will continue through Louisiana Election Day should anyone care to stay around for the campaign desserts.    

by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of

stephen Sabludowskyby Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of



 Lunch With the League
WHERE?  at Drusilla Seafood,
3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Thursday - October 13, 2011  Networking:  11:00 a.m. Program at Noon

Dardenne & Nungesser debate at Lunch With the League

    The League of Women Voters of Baton Rouge (LWVBR) and WBRZ TV, Channel 2, Baton Rouge, will host a forum featuring candidates for Lt. Governor at the October Lunch With The League event on Thursday, October 13. in the Audubon Room at Drusilla Place, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge.  

Reservations are required to guarantee seating and may be made by credit card  by clicking on "Pay Here", which includes a $2 convenience fee.  You may also make reservations by sending your Name, Mailing Address, Phone Number, and E-mail address to [email protected] or by calling the League Voice Mail at (225) 334-9999 or (225) 927-2255.  Your Reservation confirmation will be e-mailed to you.
    Payment at the door is by cash and check only.  

The cost is $20 for LWVBR members and $25 for guests

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