‘LaPolitics’: Cedric Richmond’s star rising in White House; redistricting delays continue 

We all knew former Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans was going to play a front-and-center role in the administration of President Joe Biden, but his star may be shining a bit brighter than most anticipated. 

For starters, Richmond regularly gets name-checked during White House briefings and he has quickly become a high-profile talking head for the administration. Over the past two weeks alone he has been on CNN and MSNBC several times, sharing screen space with Al Sharpton, Jake Tapper and Joy Reid. 

While he leads the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, which is working with actors and singers, Richmond’s own celebrity is climbing back home just as quickly. When asked by reporters last week about beltway issues, Gov. John Bel Edwards said, “We have a former Louisiana congressman working in the White House right now, and every time he speaks about what the priorities are, he mentions Louisiana’s hurricane recovery efforts.” 

Biden is leaning on Richmond, too, and he has tasked the former congressman with directing minority outreach on the White House’s COVID-19 relief legislation. But you can really tell Richmond has made it in national politics because he has likewise been under attack online—from right-wing bloggers over his CNN analysis of recent CDC findings on the school-level spread and by left-wing critics for accepting oil and gas donations as a former member of Congress.

Redistricting news: Representatives of the U.S. Census Bureau told state officials recently that population figures will be released by April 30, but that the more detailed numbers that lawmakers need for redistricting won’t be available until after July. While Louisiana officials are already planning for a fall special session to tackle redistricting, the news announced during an online presentation represents yet another delay in a process plagued by them.

New POTUS gatekeeper: Ike Hajinazarian is serving as the new regional communications director at the White House. He will cover a few states including Louisiana, meaning he’ll be hearing from our journalists here in the coming years. An Ohio native, Hajinazarian is a carryover from the campaign who previously worked communications for U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.

They said it: “My car doesn’t run off fairy dust. … My car doesn’t run off unicorn urine.”—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, on the Biden administration’s energy policies, on Fox News.  

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