State Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, has prefiled a bill to bar the person who will serve as the appointed interim lieutenant governor after May 3 from running for the job in the fall. The lieutenant governor's office will become vacant when its current occupant, Mitch Landrieu, takes the oath of office as New Orleans' next mayor. Under current law, Gov. Bobby Jindal will nominate an interim replacement, who must be approved by a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. Because more than a year will remain in Landrieu's term when he resigns, a special election will be held in the fall to choose a successor.
Many speculate that Jindal's nominee will have to promise not to run in order to win legislative approval in light of the fact that several high-profile lawmakers are said to be considering a run for the office in the fall. Those lawmakers include state Senate President Joel Chaisson and House Speaker Jim Tucker, along with Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and possibly others. Abramson's bill, if it passes, would become effective upon the governor's signature, and he says he intends for it to apply to whomever gets the interim appointment. "I realize technically there may be a timing issue of whether it will be effective, depending on how quickly it moves through the legislative process before a person is appointed," Abramson says. "I would think practically whoever gets appointed ... wouldn't want to chance it if he or she had intentions to run, with this bill out there. Also, even if the appointment occurred before the effective date of this bill, the appointee might have to resign once this bill becomes effective if he or she wants to run." — Clancy DuBos