By: Allen Johnson
Indicted Congressman Bill Jefferson is not expected to go on trial for bribery until after qualifying opens July 9 for the federal party primaries on Sept. 6 but friends and foes alike are eyeing his seat.
The friends include state Reps. Cedric Richmond and Juan Lafonta. Richmond has served in the state House since 1999; Lafonta, since 2005. State Rep. Karen Carter-Peterson, who lost a runoff to Jefferson in 2006, will host a $1,200-per-person congressional fundraiser at 6 p.m. next Thursday (May 29) at Mortons Steakhouse in New Orleans, says Carter publicist Cheron Brylski. Other Jefferson opponents include Jefferson Parish Councilman Byron L. Lee and former WDSU-TV morning anchor Helena Moreno. Lee has hired the PR firm of Katz & Columbus, while veteran media consultant Jim Carvin and his daughter, Karen Carvin, will manage Lees campaign. Moreno also has assembled a campaign team, says media consultant Greg Buisson. That team includes pollster Ed Renwick as well as campaign coordinators Craig Mitchell and Bill Allerton. As a journalist, Moreno registered as an Independent, but she will run as a Democrat in the party primary, Buisson says. She will make an official announcement in July, while Lee has not yet pegged an announcement date. Meanwhile, a publicist for indicted state Sen. Derrick Shepherd of Marrero dismissed rumors that Shepherd will run for the seat again; Shepherd finished third in the 2006 race.