James Gray, candidate for New Orleans City Council District E in the Dec. 8 runoff election, raised $49,365 in campaign contributions from mid-October to mid-November, compared to $39,700 in contributions to his opponent State Rep. Austin Badon. Badon, however, ended the period with more cash on hand, nearly $11,000 to just under $4,000 for Gray, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday with the Louisiana Ethics Administration.
Gray's campaign spent about $55,000 between Oct. 18 and Nov. 18, the period covered by the 10th day prior to general election report. Badon's campaign spent $44,000 in the same period.
Supplemental reports show that Gray collected $3,500 and Badon collected $7,000 in contributions between Nov. 18 and today.
Notable Gray contributions in the most recent reports: $3,500 from the Committee to Elect Cheryl Gray (Gray's daughter and former state senator who resigned in 2009); $2,500 from former Congressman Claude "Buddy" Leach; $1,500 from the Service Employees International Union national office; and $1,000 from HRI Properties.
Notable Badon contributions in the most recent reports: $2,500 from Richard's Disposal; $2,000 from developer/philanthropist Roger Ogden; $1,000 from former Board of Secondary and Elementary Education member and charter school advocate Leslie Jacobs; and $250 from former Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao.
Two Orleans Parish candidates running in the October 22 election for the Louisiana State House of Representatives are nearly a month late in filing tier 2 personal financial disclosure forms for the 2010 tax year, as required of all candidates for the State Legislature, according to Kathleen Allen, administrator for the Louisiana Ethics Administration.
Democrat Carlos Williams, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Jeff Arnold for District 102 in Algiers; and Republican John Fenner "Fenn" French, who is challenging incumbent Neil Abramson for District 98 Uptown, have not, as of this writing, turned in the disclosures, which were due by the middle of September.
Update (October 12, 5:30 p.m.): The French disclosure is in and available for download here.
State law requires that legislative candidates turn in the forms — which disclose information on each candidate's (and his or her spouse's) employment, income, and property and investment holdings — within 10 days of turning in their qualifying forms. Friedman and Williams qualified on September 8, meaning their disclosures were due by September 18.
The Ethics Administration is responsible for oversight and regulation of campaign finance and personal financial disclosures for state and local political candidates and officeholders. All disclosures are posted and publicly viewable on its online database.
A third New Orleans area candidate — former Plaquemines Parish Councilman John "Jay" Friedman, the lone Democrat in a four candidates running for an open seat in House District 105 — has also failed to file. District 105 was composed entirely of voting precincts in St. Charles, Jefferson and Plaquemines Parish, but pursuant to redistricting this year will also include a small part of Algiers in Orleans Parish. The district is currently represented by term-limited Ernest Wooton, Independent of Belle Chasse. (Wooton is running for Plaquemines Parish Sheriff.) Friedman, who filed on September 6,
did not return Gambit's request for comment.
Update (October 12, 3:30 p.m.): Friedman called and said that he received the notice and sent his disclosure in this morning.
Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao and his challenger, state Rep. Cedric Richmond, will meet at two public forums this week. The first is sponsored by the Urban League of New Orleans and will take place Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Dillard University, with a candidates' reception in the atrium at 5 pm and the debate getting underway at 6:30 in Lecture Hall 115. Also participating at the Dillard event will be independent candidate Anthony Marquize.
The second forum — presented by the Neighborhoods Partnership Network and the Louisiana AARP — will be held Thursday, Oct. 14 at UNO's Lindy Boggs Center and moderated by WWL-TV's Dennis Woltering. Tickets are free to the public, but attendees must RSVP to 866-448-3620. This forum will also be live-streamed on wwltv.com.
Gambit political editor Clancy DuBos appeared on WWL-TV's Eyewitness News last night to discuss the 2nd District congressional race between incumbent Anh "Joseph" Cao and challenger Cedric Richmond in the wake of President Barack Obama recording a TV commercial supporting Richmond.
Who wouldnt want to win tickets to an upcoming Saints game even if the price of entering was providing your cell phone number to a political campaign? It must have seemed a great idea in the offices of Rep. Anh Joseph Cao, whose campaign website (www.caoforcongress.com) offered supporters the chance to do just that by texting the word TIX and/or giving up their cell numbers.
The problem? Nothing on the site indicated that providing a phone number was opting in to receiving text messages from the Cao campaign and, unlike most sweepstakes, there were no rules or odds posted, no number of stated tickets to be given away, nor even the dates of the contest or the prize: just the vague promise of a chance to win tickets to upcoming games. Even stickier: the prize had already been given away, according to Cao's campaign manager.
When Gambit called the Cao game on Sept. 21 for clarification, it turned out the prize were for the teams season opener which was Sept. 9. The tickets had already been awarded (the winner: Desmon Benn of Algiers), though the campaign was still collecting phone numbers with the promise of giving away more tickets.
We just did it for the Saints-Vikings home opener. We dont have any more scheduled, but were hoping to do more, said Cao campaign manager David Huguenel. This just happened, and we are in the process of changing our website.
Huguenel conceded the problem with holding a contest in which the prize had already been awarded two weeks before, but said, We were certainly not trying to deceive anybody; were not trying to confuse people. Im confident we did everything within the rules of FEC (Federal Elections Commission) compliance.
Cade Cypriano, the campaigns director of new media, said there would be another ticket giveaway at some point, but we dont have the name of the game yet. Cypriano said the first giveaway had harvested some 800 phone numbers from supporters, and that the campaign was hoping to give away tickets for the Saints-Steelers matchup on Oct. 31.
A contest with no existing prize or stated rules? Julia Queen, a public affairs specialist for the FEC in Washington, D.C., said the commission had no hard and fast rules for giveaways of this sort in exchange for cell phone numbers. Believe it or not, the FEC rules on the Internet havent been updated since 2006, Queen said, referring Gambit to the U.S. House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
By this afternoon, the Cao campaign website had been changed; the tickets were clearly stated to be for the Steelers game, and some boilerplate rules had been added:
Limited to one entry per mobile number. Winners will be notified within 24 hours of promoted event. Promotional entries and any subsequent information provided are to be used by Joseph Cao for Congress in compliance with FEC regulations, and will not be further distributed at any time during the 2010 congressional campaign. Entry should not be viewed as campaign contribution, and is not deductible as charitable contribution. If you are are under the age of 18 please consult with a parent or legal guardian before entering.
Cypriano also forwarded Gambit a document titled "Internal Memorandum Mobile Campaign 8/1/2010," which stated, in part, "Joseph Cao has experienced success in tailoring SMS technology to his congressional race, and once re-elected, looks forward to exploring the utilization of text messaging to increase transparency and accountability within congressional representation."
In another body blow to the New Orleans economy, Northrop Grumman announced yesterday it has decided to move all its Gulf Coast shipbuilding operations to Pascagoula, Miss. when current construction projects at Avondale are completed in 2013. That means the 5,000 people who now work at Avondale will have to find new jobs. Another estimated 7,000 jobs also depend on the shipyard.
From Northrop Grummans perspective, its just good business to consolidate operations for the sake of efficiency and the bottom line. The company said it further plans to separate shipbuilding from its other enterprises. Recognizing our companys long-term strategic priorities, we foresee little synergy between shipbuilding and our other businesses, says Wes Bush, CEO and president of Northrop Grumman. It is now appropriate to explore separating shipbuilding from Northrop Grumman.
Rep. Anh Joseph Cao, R-La., says he will try to keep the 5,000 jobs in the New Orleans area. Taking away thousands of shipbuilding jobs in an area known worldwide for its shipbuilding is a real blow to us, he said in a statement. This couldnt have come at a worse time because we are still dealing with the effects of (Hurricane) Katrina and, now, the economically debilitating effects of the oil spill. We have real possibilities for bridging the funding gaps. This isnt the end for these jobs, and I will continue to fight to keep them here in Southeast Louisiana.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., vows she will try to get company officials to reverse the decision to turn its back on Louisiana and the thousands of workers in the state, she says. While the company might believe this decision will have a positive effect in the short term on its bottom line, the long-term consequences for Louisianas economy, our national security and Northrop Grumman itself will be devastating.
Northrop Grumman says it only has two transport ships to be built at Avondale by 2013 under current contracts. In February, the Navy canceled plans for two amphibious ships that were to be built at Avondale. With declining contracts for seagoing vessels, Northrop Grumman says it may get out of shipbuilding altogether.
Minutes after the health care bill passed 219-212 in the House of Representatives, several Louisiana politicos pressed SEND and sent out their statements. Below the jump, some comments from Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rep. Charlie Melancon (who voted nay) and state Rep. Cedric Richmond, who's running for Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao's Congressional seat in November, and couldn't resist slapping Cao for his nay vote.
Might as well ... jump!
Washington D.C. (and the Republican party) are waiting to see what Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao will do at this weekend's vote on health care reform (he told the Associated Press this afternoon he's "pretty much a definite no"). This is a 180-degree reversal of his November vote in favor of President Barack Obama's HCR plan ... for which he received plenty of flak from his own party.
Now his former director of communications is running for her own Congressional seat, and she seems to be taking a big step back from Cao as well. Princella Smith, who served as Cao's director of communications for 10 months, has announced her own candidacy for the House of Representatives, seeking to fill the Arkansas 1st District seat currently held by retiring Rep. Marion Berry. Smith, an Arkansas native, is the fourth contender to join the field.
Smiths positions are consistently more to the right than those of her former boss, who occasionally crossed the aisle to vote with the Democratic majority, and nowhere is the difference between the two more apparent than on the issue of immigration. Two months after taking office, Cao became a cosponsor of H.R.1751 (The American Dream Act), which would allow undocumented students who graduate from American high schools to obtain green cards and get on a faster track toward permanent residency a bill strongly opposed by many Republicans.
Smiths position on immigration is summed up in its own page on her Web site: Cut off all federal dollars to any entity that provides amnesty to illegal immigrants. No federal money for highways, healthcare, infrastructure or political pork. No money, period. She also distanced herself from Caos November vote for Obamas healthcare plan in an interview with The American Spectator: My job was to communicate why he did what he did. Thats it. He pushed the button himself.
Meanwhile, Caos name is conspicuously absent on Smiths endorsement Web page. Caos new communications director, Clayton Hall, did not return email inquiries as to whether the congressman would be endorsing his former aide, nor did Smith herself.
Should Smith win, she would be the first black Republican woman to serve in the House and, at 27, one of the youngest members of Congress ever. Her star began rising in the GOP in 2004, when she won an MTV-sponsored speech contest called Stand Up and Holla and was invited to be a prime-time speaker at that years Republican National Convention. Since then, she has worked as a spokesperson and campaign director for groups founded by former Rep. Newt Gingrich and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. In another local angle, Smith also counts national GOP political consultant (and New Orleans resident) Mary Matalin among her mentors; Matalin has referred to Smith as her little sister."
Americans loathe Congress, but they still like President Barack Obama according to a recent Associated Press poll. A mere 22 percent support Congress while public approval for Obamas job performance checks in at 53 percent even though Karl Rove casts the president as undisciplined.
The poll also reveals that party affiliation doesnt inspire confidence 50 percent of those surveyed would give a pink slip to their congressperson. As the midterm elections approach, public perception obviously matters and pols, but not polls (therell be plenty more), will struggle to prove their worth.
And it raises the question, what do you think of your own representative? Will you vote for them, choose someone else, or does it matter what you think, change is going to come?
Today, Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-La.) introduced H.R. 1079 onto the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives -- a bill congratulating the New Orleans Saints on their Super Bowl victory. Sure, it ain't health care, but it's the kind of collegial feel-good resolution that allows Congresscritters to give each other the warm fuzzies. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of ... 375-1.
Yes, someone voted against congratulating the Saints for winning the Super Bowl. Who? This guy:
What a jackanapes you are, Rep. Tim V. Johnson of Illinois.
Here's the footage of Cao introducing the resolution on the House floor. Nice.
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