Overdue Update:  Republicans finally came together and agreed that Cassidy was the most formidable candidate for the 6th Congressional District.  Calongne and Jenkins have agreed not to run!  Things may be looking up for the Louisiana GOP.

In times where party unity seems to be a daily political discussion on a national level, it might be advantageous to take a look at an interesting race that is brewing this fall in the Red Stick.  Voters will now have three Republican candidates to choose from in the 6th Congressional race since the trio seems to reject the idea of party unity. 

Voters often wonder why candidates run for office.  After all, who would want to subject their family and future to the whim of the media, political pundits and overwhelming daily stress in a daunting challenge of changing the course of our country that is already spiraling out of control? 

Apparently three are willing to take the plunge including Senator Bill Cassidy, business owner Laurinda Calongne, and editor Woody Jenkins.  All three have strong political ties, experience and supporters. 

Who will wind up on 1st to run against recently seated democrat Congressman Don Cazayoux?  (Don may have his own party competition on the democratic side in Representative Michael Jackson)  Cazayoux hit the floor running with an impressive website that is user friendly and a message of “what can I do to help?” This past week he began running radio ads and held conference calls for constituents to call in and address their concerns and needs.  Republicans will have to overcome his effective ability to be ‘one of us’ coupled with his humor and lack of elitism.

As a republican, this race is already causing me concern.  It won’t take a crystal ball to see the future and what to expect based on the past:

  • Republican Senator Bill Cassidy is a physician specializing in diseases of the liver.  Cassidy won a senate seat vacated by Jay Dardenne against William Daniel in 2006, and was re-elected against virtually no strong competition in 2008.  Cassidy’s platform was to improve education and healthcare in Louisiana.  He is married to retired physician Laura Cassidy, has three young children who attend public school, and attends the Chapel on the Campus. 
    • Opponents will say Cassidy is attempting to catapult his political career to a national level with a goal of changing a fledgling national healthcare system without achieving his goals in the office he promised to serve for at least 3 more years and cite his inexperience in Washington as a negative.

 

  • Republican business owner Laurinda Calongne, principal of Robert Rose Consulting, lost her bid for the vacated congressional seat of Richard Baker earlier this year in the party primary against Woody Jenkins.  Calongne ran on the premise that her business savvy would help streamline government spending, to ease the tax burden of constituents, and to fight against illegal immigration.  Laurinda says she has raised millions of dollars for the republican party and even more for health care related organizations through her grant writing to increase benefits to Louisianans.  Calongne is married to engineering consultant Dan, has one teenage daughter, and they attend Healing Place Church and Our Lady of Mercy.
    • Opponents will attack Calongne for being a registered lobbyist, for ties to Bob Livingston, and twist her stand against illegal immigration claiming she is being discriminatory.

 

  • Republican Woody Jenkins, former representative and editor of three Red Stick publications, lost his bid for this congressional seat in the run-off earlier this year to Don Cazayoux, democrat.  Jenkins’ campaign ran on his conservative values and history in the legislature.  He was backed by the Family Research Council and the Louisiana Family Forum, both christian conservative organizations and by Governor Bobby Jindal.  Jenkins is married to attorney and former assistant district attorney, Diane; they have four adult children and listed no church affiliation.
    • Opponents will attack Jenkins’ inability to win elections against strong democrats, questionable ethics in past elections and a controversial non-profit organization he and his wife managed.

Three strong republicans that refuse to agree on party unity.  Is this the wave of the future?  Maybe. 

There is no way these three candidates can run against each other without attacks on their opponents if they expect to set their self apart from the pack.  Families will suffer, as they always do in tough campaigns, and the need to raise at least $1 million by each candidate to be effective will make it one for the books – especially with McCain making major fundraising strides in Louisiana.  Who is willing to pay the ultimate price to represent Louisiana’s 6th district? 

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican

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