Jerry Luke not running for Michot's seat

by Leslie Turk

On Thursday the INDsider reported on UL administrator Jerry Luke LeBlanc's hopes to get back into politics, but LeBlanc confirms via email today that he will not seek term-limited state Sen. Mike Michot's seat.

Citing several sources familiar with Jerry Luke LeBlanc's plans to go after term-limited state Sen. Mike Michot's District 23 seat, on Thursday the INDsider reported on the likelihood of a LeBlanc-Page Cortez matchup. Our efforts to reach LeBlanc for that story were unsuccessful. But this morning via email, LeBlanc, who makes $215,000 a year as vice president for administration and finance at UL Lafayette, says he's decided against making a run.

"I want to thank all of the individuals who encouraged me to consider running for the District 23 Senate seat in the fall elections," LeBlanc writes. "I have decided that the current timing would not be right for me to seek elective office. Therefore, I will not be a candidate. The university has numerous large projects and initiatives under way with more on the horizon, which will demand my full attention. Again, I thank all of those in the community for expressing confidence in me."

LeBlanc, an independent, would certainly have had some ground to make up, as District 43 state Rep. Cortez, though he has not made it official, plans to seek the seat this fall. The INDsider first reported Cortez's ambitions for the Senate in February. A Republican in his first term in the House, Cortez has for months been holding fundraisers, like the upcoming April 19 event at Schilling Distributing on Moss Street. An influential group of business leaders and politicians is already on board the "Cortez for Senate" effort. Herb Schilling and Kenny Hix of Shilling Distributing, Dwight Prudhomme of Republic National Distributing, Julie Calzone of Calzone and Associates and Tyron Picard of The Picard Group are hosting the fundraiser, along with co-hosts state Sens. Elbert Guillory, Mike Michot, Fred Mills and Jonathan Perry; state Reps. Joel Robideaux, Bobby Badon, Rickey Hardy, Nancy Landry and Jack Montoucet; and City-Parish President Joey Durel, Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux, Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais, Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison and Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator.

LeBlanc resigned from the Legislature in 2004 to serve as former Gov. Kathleen Blanco's commissioner of administration. He was a five-term state rep from Lafayette and is the son of a former state representative. He also worked as a real estate appraiser during his time in the Legislature.

LeBlanc joined UL in June 2008 as an interim administrator; the job was later made permanent.