Before leading the Downtown Irish Club's St. Patrick's Day parade as the club's Man of the Year, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser was pressing the flesh with GOP stalwarts at the Jefferson Parish Pachyderm Club's cochon de lait March 15, leading many to speculate he will run for lieutenant governor in the fall against fellow Republican Jay Dardenne.
Nungesser seemed to be picking a fight with Dardenne on March 9 when he publicly groused about Dardenne's distribution of the first tourism payout from BP — $5 million of an eventual $30 million boodle to be spread across all 64 parishes. Dardenne pointed out, correctly, that the deal had been made before he took office in November 2010, and he was just distributing the funds; his office, which handles statewide tourism strategies, will be receiving $6.5 million.
Nungesser passed on the opportunity to run for lieutenant governor in a special election last fall — right after the gusher was sealed but while oil continued to wash ashore in his parish. Instead, he won re-election handily in parish contests held on the same ballot.
Furthering speculation about a lieutenant governor bid, Nungesser has been telling friends he would soon have "a new website." Qualifying for statewide and legislative offices is Sept. 6-8. — DuBos & Kevin Allman