‘LaPolitics’: Legislative elections will have many players; Maness eyeing 2016

While the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the state chapter of Americans For Prosperity have already made big splashes in the legislative election pool, other groups are gearing up to play in the races as well.

Shipbuilding magnate Boysie Bollinger is said to be working and actively meeting with a diverse group to form a tort reform campaign initiative to influence the fall elections. In addition to donors and business types, the effort is pulling in folks linked to the state’s biggest legacy and pharmacy suits.

Sources say U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy had also expressed interest in reviving the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, which senior U.S. Sen. David Vitter created to put more Republicans in the Legislature. That option is looking unlikely today, but conservative activists say Cassidy has said he wants be involved in the fall legislative elections. To what extent remains to be seen.

AFP and LABI, of course, made a great deal of noise with their respective scorecards that were released this month. But also of interest will be how other corners of the larger business lobby will approach the fall elections. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association is promising to spend more cash than ever before and the Louisiana Chemical Association offered a teaser of sorts with a radio buy during session.

Should all of the groups listed above, plus the others on the edges, get on the same page with messaging that communicates an anti-incumbent sentiment, the legislative races could become much more interesting—not for who is on the ballot, but rather for who is playing behind the scenes.

—After building a political career out of a novice run for the U.S. Senate last year, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness of Madisonville tells LaPolitics he may be ready to do it again in 2016.

“I’ve told Sen. (David) Vitter that I’m extremely interested in the Senate seat if he wins for governor and he had a very positive response,” says Maness.

Maness could present a very minor roadblock for Congressman John Fleming of Shreveport, another likely Senate candidate. Both would run to the right of the field and hope to gain favor with tea party types. Congressman Charles Boustany and Treasurer John Kennedy are viewed as likely contenders as well.

They Said It: ”I believe David Vitter is a broken man. The greatest leader you can have is a broken man.” —Baton Rouge Pastor David M. Diamond on The Jim Engster Show

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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