If you're a Republican running for office in a conservative district in south Louisiana, you couldn't ask for a more enthusiastic cheerleader than Gov. Bobby Jindal. Just ask former Lafourche Parish Councilman Brent Callais, R-Cut Off, who garnered Jindal's blessing in Aug. 29's special election in Senate District 20 (conducted just after Gambit went to press). A mailer that swamped the district last week saw the governor calling Callais a "proven leader," and Jindal appeared at a Callais campaign fundraiser as well. "We're expecting to raise about $100,000 from the event," Callais said prior to the fundraiser. The candidate also had the support of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and enjoyed high marks from the Louisiana Family Forum and National Rifle Association. His opponent was former political consultant and landman Norby Chabert, D-Houma, the son of the late state Sen. Leonard Chabert and brother of former state Sen. Marty Chabert.
For Jindal, the race presented an opportunity to save face. Earlier this year, the governor got involved in another state Senate race in which his anointed candidate was handily defeated — something that wasn't lost on political pundits. In that contest, Jindal even recorded a series of phone calls that blanketed Baton Rouge's Senate District 16, but it did little to help the chances of local businessman Lee Domingue, who managed to carry only a dozen precincts in his loss to fellow Republican and Baton Rouge attorney Dan Claitor. — Alford