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Endorsements Announced
The first round of endorsements in the fall elections came last week. The Alliance for Good Government announced its support of state Rep. Cedric Richmond in the Sept. 6 Democratic Primary for Congress in Louisiana's Second District. Richmond faces embattled Congressman Bill Jefferson and six others in the Democratic primary. In another high-profile race, the Alliance threw is support to Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Roland Belsome in the Oct. 4 open primary for state Supreme Court in District 1. In that district, veteran incumbent Chief Justice Pascal Calogero is retiring. Elsewhere, former DA Harry Connick is backing former First Assistant DA Ralph Capitelli in the contest for New Orleans DA. Former Judge Leon Cannizzaro, also a candidate for DA, has picked up the endorsement of the local AFL-CIO. Not to be outdone, attorney Jason R. Williams (who, coincidentally, is the son-in-law of former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy) captured the endorsement of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee. — DuBos

 

House Was Set to Follow
Gov. Bobby Jindal owes one to the Louisiana Senate. As of last week, 36 of 38 senators mailed in ballots voting to cancel the scheduled veto override session. For Jindal, a Republican, that's all it takes to avoid yet another conflict with lawmakers. Only one legislative chamber needs to say "enough" to call off a veto session. The Senate acted so quickly, however, that it's difficult to gauge how votes in the House were shaping up. In fact, according to staffers in the offices of the House clerk and speaker, barely any ballots from the Lower Chamber had been mailed back when the Senate made its decision. House Speaker Jim Tucker says it's moot. "But I imagine by the time it's all said and done, we will receive a majority of ballots" against the override session, says Tucker, a Republican from Algiers. "A lot of (House) members were on vacation this past week, and many are just now getting back to work." Tucker says that Senate President Joel Chaisson II, a Democrat from Destrehan, also had an easier task of contacting his membership in advance of the July 28 deadline, compared to the House's 105 members. — Alford

Cash Defines Senate Race
This year's U.S. Senate race hasn't exactly shaped up as an exchange of ideas and plans, at least not yet. Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, opened the contest by showcasing her successes on earmarks, an issue that challenger John Kennedy, the state's Republican treasurer, has railed against. While Landrieu argues earmarks are a way to deliver jobs for the state, Kennedy calls them pork barrel spending. Earlier in July, the two campaigns traded barbs over fundraising numbers. Eager for a win — any win — Kennedy's campaign released second-quarter figures to the media that claimed to top Landrieu's. Yet, according to an Associated Press report, Kennedy's numbers contained an error — $89,000 in donations was incorrectly reported as the result of an obscure discrepancy. Landrieu's team wasted little time pointing out in press releases that she out-raised Kennedy $1.54 million to $1.45 million. The latest rhetorical volleys came last week, when Kennedy's campaign lashed out at Landrieu for raising money with the help of "gun-grabbing liberal" Mike Bloomberg, the formerly Republican mayor of New York who was also formerly registered as a Democrat before dropping party labels altogether last year. The Times-Picayune reported that Bloomberg was scheduled to host a fundraiser on July 30 for Landrieu at the mayor's Manhattan townhouse, with an admission price of $1,000 per person. Kennedy's campaign noted Bloomberg's anti-gun and pro-gay marriage stances. — Alford

Reed the Recycler
You gotta love a politician who practices recycling as part of his campaign, but perennial candidate Morris Reed, a former judge at Criminal District Court, may be taking that notion a tad far. Reed's latest campaign is for Section "F" of Criminal District Court. This time, he is reusing the same push cards that he used in his failed bid for Section "A" of Criminal Court last October. Not just the same graphics, slogans and photos — the same cards. Apparently he had a bunch of the old ones left over, so he hole-punched his qualifying number from last year's race (it was #62) — but he didn't bother to paste over or hole-punch the reference to Section "A" from last year's race. In that contest, Reed finished fourth in a field of seven, garnering less than 8,900 votes citywide, just shy of 13 percent. This time, Reed is one of five candidates in the race to succeed Judge Dennis Waldron, who announced his retirement earlier this year. He faces Yolanda King, Hunter P. Harris, Robin Pittman and Gary Wainwright. — DuBos

Cazayoux Draws Delegation
For the third consecutive year, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon led Congress' top Democrats on a tour of the Gulf Coast to gauge the region's progress since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and others made their way through New Orleans and Mississippi last week. But, for one day, the troop ventured north to Louisiana's capital. Was it Baton Rouge's role in housing evacuees that prompted the trek? Or was it an opportunity to meet with the hurricane experts at LSU? Most likely it was freshman Congressman Don Cazayoux, the Red Stick Democrat who is preparing for a serious re-election battle this fall. The gathering showed off Cazayoux's political muscle — and his new connections. It also didn't hurt to have Melancon, a Democrat from Napoleonville, behind the scenes. Earlier this year, Melancon's campaign sunk more than $4,000 into Cazayoux's special election, among other contests. "I'll be involved again to the extent that they need me," Melancon says. Cazayoux faces a strong Republican challenger in Dr. Bill Cassidy, a Republican state senator, and state Rep. Michael Jackson, a Baton Rouge Democrat who is running for the seat again, only this time as a no-party candidate. Jackson, who is African American, is viewed as a major threat to Cazayoux's hopes of carrying black voters in the runoff. — Alford

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