Gov. candidates assembling teams

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

From left: Vitter, Dardenne, Edwards and Angelle

We already know what most of the candidates running for governor this fall raised in 2014, but we’re only beginning to learn what they’re spending it on, starting with their campaign teams.

Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, a Republican from Breaux Bridge, is already spending cash on what he describes as an “energetic team.” Baton Rouge consultant Roy Fletcher will remain his media guru, while Ryan Cross, most recently a senior hand in 5th Congressional District campaigns, has been selected as manager and press handler.

Allie Bausch, a prolific GOP fundraiser, is on the finance side for Angelle and McLaughlin and Associates of New York will be the campaign’s polling firm.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a Baton Rouge Republican, said his campaign has hired Dave Carney of New Hampshire, a former White House political affairs director, to serve as manager. Old hand George Kennedy remains on board as general consultant.

Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research has been hired for Dardenne’s polling and Targeted Victory is overseeing analytics management and other digital efforts.

State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite, the only declared Democratic candidate, has been working with a local firm in Hammond on his media and web presence. But the newest addition to his team is Jared Arsement of Lafayette, who has taken on communications.

Edwards’ biggest move of late, though, was purchasing a billboard near the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Edwards said it was a “good opportunity that just came up,” but it’s difficult to miss the significance of the Amite lawmaker’s move into the backyard of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has yet to rule out running for governor.

The support structure for U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Metairie Republican, is a bit more complicated.

Vitter’s campaign is not legally allowed to coordinate with the super PAC supporting the senator’s run, but the campaign will have one of its own inside the Fund for Louisiana’s Future this election cycle. Joel DiGrado, Vitter’s former communications director who was loaned out to run U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s 2014 campaign, will help steer the FFLF super PAC this year.

No full-time manager has been hired as of yet, but longtime chief of staff Kyle Ruckert, who ran Vitter’s 2010 re-election, is directing traffic at the moment. Courtney Guastella, who has also worked with the FFLF super PAC in the past, is serving as Vitter’s finance director. Already analyzing the data is Gene Ulm of Public Opinion Strategies in Virginia.