‘LaPolitics:’ Insurance rate continues to create early sparks

    Former Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley’s name won’t appear on a ballot again any time soon, but he will be a factor during the 2019 election season.

    Wooley, the Democratic commissioner from 2000 to 2006, has accepted a position as the general consultant to the still-developing campaign of Tim Temple of DeRidder, the president of Temptan. Temple, whose father was a founder of Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation, has quietly been building a challenge to Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon for months.

    Donelon, with $204,000 in the bank and national industry connections, is expected to seek re-election. He has run statewide five times since 1998 and has never been in a runoff during that time frame, although former Sen. James David Cain came awfully close to forcing one back in 2006.

    On the statewide ballot, Donelon’s record is 4-1, having only lost in 1998 to former U.S. Sen. John Breaux. Donelon’s best showing was in 2011, when he pulled 67% against Donald Hodge, an upstart candidate out of Baton Rouge. Aside from that one contest, Donelon hasn’t yielded a win above 54% in any of the other statewide races reviewed by LaPolitics.

    Temple, who will have an “R” by his name, could be launching a truly bipartisan campaign. Wooley’s family has strong ties to the Louisiana Democratic Party and Temple previously worked as an aide to former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu during her tenure as state treasurer during the late 1980s and the first half of the 1990s.

    Here’s a rundown of the incumbent’s last five statewide races:

    • 1998 U.S. Senate race: John Breaux, 64%; Donelon, 32%; Others, 3%
    • 2006 special election to succeed Wooley: Donelon, 50%; James David Cain, 39%/ S.B.A. Zaitoon, 11%
    • 2007 statewide elections: Donelon, 51%; Jim Crowley, 36%; Robert Landsen, 9%; Jerilyn Schneider-Kneale, 5%
    • 2011 statewide elections: Donelon, 67%; Donald C. Hodge, 33%
    • 2015 statewide elections: Donelon, 54%; Charlotte C. McDaniel-McGehee, 19%; Matt Parker, 14%; Donald Hodge, 13%. 

    They said it: “I think the people who like me the least call me the most.” —Congressman Cedric Richmond, sitting in on a discussion panel with Congressman Garret Graves, during CABL’s annual meeting this week


    Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.  

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