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Inside Jeff Parish 

Donelon Once Again
Former Louisiana State Representative and current Louisiana Deputy Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon is telling friends and supporters that he will run for the judgeship in the 24th Judicial District Court, currently held by indicted Judge Ronnie Bodenheimer.

In 1999, Donelon lost to Bodenheimer, a defeat that shocked the political world. In that election, Donelon was endorsed by almost all elected officials in Jefferson Parish and was considered the prohibitive favorite. Bodenheimer touted his prosecutorial experience and fashioned a grassroots campaign to victory.

After losing, Donelon went on to win another term in the Louisiana Legislature, only to resign that position to take a top position with the state Department of Insurance. Now that Bodenheimer is suspended and facing federal charges, Donelon is preparing to run again for the judgeship, joining at least five other potential candidates in the race. Donelon's supporters believe that with his name recognition and his history, he should easily be able to secure a position in the November run-off.

Vitter/Bruno Feud Over for Now
A quarrel between Republican State Central Committee member Vincent Bruno and Congressman David Vitter has been going on ever since Vitter defeated Bruno's friend Dave Treen in a close election for Congress in 1999.

Last week, the long simmering feud exploded on the Ringside Politics radio program. During the show, a caller asked Vitter whether he would appear as a co-guest on the program with Bruno. In response, Vitter rejected the offer and called Bruno "a thug and a liar." Later that day, Bruno responded with two threats of retaliation: a lawsuit against Vitter and possibly Bruno's own campaign for Congress in the 1st Congressional District.

The next day, Vitter sent an official letter of apology to Bruno that he requested be read over the air on the radio show. "His apology was very gracious and, as a Christian, I have no choice but to accept it," says Bruno, who decided to drop any plans for a lawsuit or campaign against the incumbent.

Republican activists are happy that these two have at least for the time being resolved their differences.

'Vitter Victory Visits'
Dispelling any doubts about his candidacy for reelection, incumbent Congressman David Vitter has opened his campaign headquarters and announced a series of kick-off parties throughout the 1st Congressional District.

The East Jefferson Vitter campaign office opened last week on Veterans Memorial Boulevard; Charlotte Ruiz, Tony Ligi and Larry Katz were named co-coordinators for the East Jefferson campaign. The office will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call Larry Katz at 454-1991.

In addition, the campaign has planned a series of nine parties, called "Vitter Victory Visits," at the homes of supporters in every corner of the district. Vitter has also announced that he will also be scheduling at least 10 town hall meetings during the monthlong August recess from Congress. (Since his election three years ago, Vitter has earned praise from his constituents for holding 50 town hall meetings in his district.) Finally, the Congressman has agreed to participate in debates with any and all challengers, once qualifying is over on Aug. 23.

Republican Women's Club of Jefferson to Honor Candidates
On Sunday, Oct. 13, the Republican Women's Club will hold a tribute to Congressman David Vitter and Congressman John Cooksey at the Audubon Tea Room in Uptown New Orleans. The event will include a fashion show, prizes and a silent auction; tickets will cost $50.00. For more information, call Virginia Triche at 737-3260.

What is surprising about the event is not that the Republican women have chosen to honor Vitter over his challenger, Robert Namer; that was expected by most observers. However, choosing Cooksey over new U.S. Senate candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell is quite interesting. Terrell is very popular with Republican women statewide and hopes to use that support to propel her into a run-off against incumbent U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. By starting her campaign so late, Terrell has to play catch-up against Cooksey, who has been running for months and establishing a network of support in Republican clubs throughout the state.


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