A couple days ago, I wrote a story on what makes Lee Domingue tick. Today is Dan Claitor’s turn. Neither candidate received a majority in the primary and will face each other in the Senate District 16 run-off. Only 749 votes separated the two front runners.
Dan Claitor made his first run for public office in the Red Stick last year for district attorney against Hillar Moore, and announced his decision to run for senate right after Moore was sworn in as DA.
Claitor grew up in the Red Stick working in his formative years at his family’s book store, Claitors. A graduate in finance, he decided to not pursue a career in that field and chose law. For nearly 3 years he was an assistant prosecutor in Orleans Parish, leaving to open a private practice in 1990 as a trial lawyer.
A search for Claitor’s name in regard to community involvement did not produce any results to speak of. Past senators of this district were active in community and/or their church.
Claitor told The Advocate he spends time in his legal practice and handling the Claitor family assets including real estate and publishing holdings.
Claitor’s campaign finance reports indicate majority contributions from himself, the Claitor family and their holdings and trial attorneys. Just Follow the money.
One of Claitor’s contributors on his 2/5/09 report includes FAIR, a PAC chaired by Alton Ashy according to the Louisiana Ethics website. Ashy, a big time lobbyist for the gambling industry, criticized Governor Blanco for calling his donations “dirty gambling money” in an attempt to proclaim the gaming industry is a legitimate business. Ashy normally works on behalf of Democrats and is closely aligned with the Democratic Party.
According to The Old River Road bloggers, Claitor perfected his art of mud slinging by hiring the same firmthat created the mailer last year exposing Mayor Kip Holden’s alleged affair. This is evidenced in one of Claitor’s finance reports.
Claitor has a passive aggressive approach of attack. In forums and to the media, he makes ‘suggestions‘ such as when he attacked the Governor regarding his endorsement of Domingue saying it needed to ‘be investigated by the press’.
During his run against Hillar Moore, he responded ‘I earned my endorsements’ ‘suggesting‘ his opponent received his otherwise.
A pattern has developed; we are creatures of habit. It is befitting for a trial attorney to suggest reasonable doubt. These patterns reveal Claitor’s mindset, and such actions are far from subtle to the voters.
Claitor told The Advocate “although some folks might consider being a lawyer a bad thing, I think it’s a good thing down at the legislature”. Claitor defines himself as an attorney, always omitting the fact that he is a trial lawyer. On google he is listed as a personal injury attorney.
Laurinda Calongne, also went back on her word that she would not endorse, originally saying, “the people of the district have the good sense to evaluate the candidates”. Days later she chose to endorse Claitor. Claitor attacked her in the primary for being a lobbyist and for her faith. Ironically, in an interesting twist, Claitor now embraces Calongne’s endorsement. Politics make for strange bedfellows.
Claitor opposed rezoning for Acadian Village fearing visitors would park at his property across the street. Response from council member, Micky Skyring, was that he ‘doubted anyone would walk across busy Acadian Thruway’. The zoning was approved.
In all fairness, and based on information released about his opponents, it is important to mention that Claitor has had several lawsuits filed against him as well.
Public records show a $3,000,000 default loan that was allegedly in default according to Chase Bank for the Claitor family including R. G. Claitor’s Realty which lists Dan Claitor as a partner according to the Secretary of State. The suit was dropped when an agreement was reached to refinance the loan and interest was paid, according to The Advocate.
Other public records indicate both Claitor and his partners had suits filed against them. Disposition of the cases are not listed. Though these plaintiffs may not be from prominent Red Stick families, I am sure they felt their litigation was just as important.
Candidates are famous for attacking opponent’s records without realizing their own records are open for inspection. Perhaps Claitor’s strategy is to make his opponent’s records the only transparent ones?
Only one case is listed in the Times Picayune regarding a case Claitor prosecuted. A 19 year old perpetrator shot a man twice in the chest and once in the back. The murderer received only 42 years in prison. I would have hoped he received life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
I guess what makes Claitor tick is more difficult for me to figure out. He has served as a trial lawyer and an assistant prosecutor which sends somewhat of a mixed message. Maybe his passive-aggressive nature is a key to what makes him tick?
Based on the conservatives that have held the District 16 Senate seat in the past, it begs the question: Do you really want a trail lawyer to serve as your next senator?
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican