‘LaPolitics’: Race to replace Richmond shapes up; oil interests still pushing severance idea

It has only been a few days since Congressman Cedric Richmond announced he will step down in early January to become a senior adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and director of the White House office of public engagement. But the race to replace him is really shaping up.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson was the first to announce her candidacy and now Sen. Troy Carter has made it official as well. That basically means a war is brewing in the heart of the 2nd Congressional District in New Orleans, where a gaggle of other potential candidates are expected to wade into the fray soon.

The newest name to be included in the batch of likely contenders belongs to Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere, who is giving the race some thought.

On the other side of the district in Baton Rouge, Sen. Cleo Fields is still fueling speculation, but those close to the former congressman say he’s leaning against a bid. Activist Gary Chambers of Baton Rouge, however, said this week that he’s considering running.

Richmond, of course, won’t be on the ballot, but he does have $955,000 in his campaign finance account, which will be more than enough to help out a friend. With Fields looking like he’ll skip the contest, the possible entrance of Sen. Jimmy Harris, who formerly worked for Richmond, will be worth watching for in the coming weeks.

Others to keep on your watchlist include New Orleans City Council members Helena Moreno, Jared Brossett and Jay Banks; House Judiciary Chair Randal Gaines; Sen. Joe Bouie; Reps. Royce Duplessis and Kyle Green; and former St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom.

There’s still no final word on when a special election will be scheduled, but politicos involved in the developing race seem to think February looks ripe for a primary.

Veto reaction: The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association reacted today to the governor’s veto of HB29 by Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, which would have created a limited severance tax exemption for certain drilling by oil companies. From the sound of it, the issue could make a return in 2021. … “This legislation would have stimulated some critically needed economic activity in our state, and while it did not pass we remain hopeful and optimistic,” said Mike Moncla, LOGA’s interim president. “We believe Gov. Edwards gave strong consideration to the merits of the issue, and it is our job over the next few months to illustrate to the governor, the Department of Natural Resources, and key legislators why this bill is so important. We look forward to that opportunity.”

They said it: “Thus far, we’ve heard a lot of talk. We haven’t seen much evidence at all.” Gov. John Bel Edwards, on President Donald Trump’s allegations of voter fraud, on his call-in radio 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.