‘LaPolitics:’ Sheriff’s boosters feeling bullish; an update from House District 66


    He’s raising as much money or more than some regional and statewide elected officials plus he gets to wear a badge while campaigning. Both of these factors matter for incumbent East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux as he inches closer to his political future this fall.

    So what’s the read on his re-elect? If you listen to the war cry of the sheriff’s supporters, his magic numbers, for the moment, are $370,000, 76% and 60%.

    Here’s why:

    The Republican sheriff had $370,000 in cash in the bank as of a few weeks ago, according to the state Ethics Administration, and his fundraising operation is said to be more sophisticated than in the past. His reliance on funding from political action committees was minimal last year, or $1,100, when compared to other regional and some statewide elected officials. In other words, it’s a potential growth area.

    An internal poll shows him with a hefty 76% job approval rating (the combination of excellent, good and satisfactory replies) and a 60% re-elect computation (those answering in the affirmative and those answering probably, but leaning in his direction) has been circulated to donors. BDPC Political Consulting of New Orleans, run by pollster Greg Rigamer, surveyed 300 high-frequency voters in the parish Feb. 24-26. The poll was underwritten by a group of businessmen including lobbyist Alton Ashy of Advance Strategies, the chairman and treasurer of Gautreaux’s campaign committee.

    Even if the race is a snoozer, Gautreaux’s re-election bid is still notable. He helped shape the public face of his department during a string of public challenges ranging from police shootings and floods to protests and traffic congestion. He holds a high-profile law enforcement seat when viewed from a statewide perch, and the local electorate could see a symbolic challenge to his re-election. But mainstream opponents that could compete politically have yet to surface—or they’re staying quiet.

    Meanwhile, in House District 66: Incumbent state Rep. Rick Edmonds kicked off his re-election quest with a bit of support from some of his Red Stick colleagues, like term-limited Rep. Steve Carter. Challenger Morgan Lamandre received a boost as well this week in the form of a Twitter shout-out from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Lamandre’s campaign also had a recent fundraiser in the Big Easy hosted by state Sen. J.P. Morrell, Speaker Pro-Tem Walt Leger and New Orleans Councilwoman Helena Moreno.

    They said it: “Been doing this for 32 years and still shocked by what folks wear to court.”— Sen. Dan Claitor, on proper legal attire, via Twitter  

    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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