NEW ORLEANS MAYOR'S RACE HAS RIPPLE EFFECT IN ACADIANA
Last week's surprise announcement by LT. GOV. MITCH LANDRIEU that he would seek the office of New Orleans mayor (a post his father held) was a political shocker to many (though certainly not all of us political watchers), given the fact that Landrieu has denied interest in the post for most of the year, and even stated publicly that he would not be a candidate. Landrieu challenged incumbent MAYOR RAY NAGIN in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, losing to Nagin after refusing to criticize the mayor publicly for his leadership in the aftermath of the storm, despite being urged to do so. Landrieu's announcement caught even his closest supporters off guard, as he kept the decision-making process very close to his vest. Landrieu is expected to make a runoff in the race which fields 13 candidates, likely against state SEN. ED MURRAY, the most prominent African-American candidate in the race.
Landrieu's announcement also had a ripple effect for politics in Acadiana, as two area politicians are interested in replacing him, should he win the mayor's race. SCOTT ANGELLE, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, has told political allies that he is interested in the position should Landrieu win, and would forego a contemplated run for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. CHARLIE MELANCON, a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Angelle, a Democrat originally appointed by GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO and retained by BOBBY JINDAL, reportedly would favor the lieutenant governor position for a multitude of reasons, among which is the fact that he has school age children, and Baton Rouge is much closer to Breaux Bridge than is Washington, D.C.
Sources also confirm that Lafayette Republican state SEN. MIKE MICHOT, currently chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee and in his final term in the state Senate, is also interested in the post of lieutenant governor should Landrieu vacate it. Michot was spotted at lunch last week meeting with a number of Lafayette businessmen who have been known to be in his inner circle politically, including banker ANDRE FRUGE, DR. BRYAN SIBLEY, insurance executives MICHAEL CRATON and DAVID KOKE, Acadian Ambulance Executive Vice President TYRON PICARD, and state representatives PAGE CORTEZ and JOEL ROBIDEAUX, both of Lafayette.