Lt. Governor’s Race Offers Variety

September 14, 2010

On October 2nd, voters across Louisiana will begin the process of deciding who will become the next Lt. Governor. The Lt. Governor’s position became vacant when Mitch Landrieu stepped down after winning the Mayor’s race in New Orleans, and some believe that the next Lt. Governor will become the next Governor.

Current Secretary of State Jay Dardenne leads in polls conducted, but some experts think that Jay Dardenne needs to win outright on October 2nd in order to win the race. Dardenne was a long time legislature, and his tenure as Secretary of State gives him great name recognition across the state, but with it comes a long record of votes. How voters perceive Dardenne’s track record could give him the extra boost he needs in the primary, but could quickly become a liability in the run off.

Sammy Kershaw is making his second bid to become Lt. Governor. In 2007, Kershaw lost to Mitch Landrieu. Reminiscent of Governor Jimmy Davis, Kershaw is also a musician. His argument for becoming the next Lt. Governor is that as an entertainer, Kershaw knows how to sell Louisiana to tourist. But Kershaw isn’t without his own troubles, and being in the spot light brought media attention to his personal life. The big question for Kershaw is whether or not those issues are far enough in the past to make a difference.

GOP chairman Roger Villere is also making his challenge to the seat. Villere, a florist out of New Orleans is well known throughout the Republican Party and has gotten the endorsement of the Tea Party of Louisiana. What could make or break Villere is the the Tea Party’s backing. Across the nation, Tea Parties have left a footprint in elections with mixed reviews. In a conservative state like Louisiana, the backing of a Tea Party could help lift a person to victory. Still, the Tea Parties in Louisiana haven’t been around a long time, and their impact is still unknown.

Butch Gautreaux, another long time legislature should do well among Democrats. Serving in the legislature since 1996, Gautreaux has attended enough Democratic political events to be well known in Democratic circles. Like Dardenne, Gautreaux has a long track record of votes. Though Gautreaux, like many Democratic legislators in the South, often votes conservatively, what could hinder him is the anti-incumbency mood typically aimed at incumbent Democrats. Whether that national mood will be reflected on the local level remains to be seen.

Caroline Fayard could be the wild card and as one of two women in the race could fit into Cinderella’s shoes very nicely. Although she doesn’t have a lot of political experience and little name recognition, her family is well known through out Democratic fund raising circuits. On September 7th, Fayard held a fundraiser in New York City with special guest, former President Bill Clinton. Fayard has flexed her financial muscle very well and she could be a force to be reckoned with. Still, having campaign cash to throw around doesn’t guarantee victory. Also expected to be baggage for Fayard is the fact that she worked for Goldman Sachs.

Other people in the race include Physician Melanie Knight, St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis, and Navy Vet Jim Crowley. Scott Angelle (D) was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal in Landrieu’s absence, but will not seek to maintain that seat.

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