This Week in Crazy: Ernie trash talks Robideaux

by Heather Miller

"Former state Rep. Ernie Alexander, who spoke on behalf of the Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee, said though having another Republican in the Legislature is beneficial, Robideaux is not one of my favorite people.' "

What began as a standard announcement story in The Daily Advertiser on Rep. Joel Robideaux's switch to the GOP took a sharp turn toward the Tea Party poppy fields Friday when Ernie Alexander, a former state lawmaker and erstwhile radio station manager spouted some very public bile on behalf of the Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee.

Just three paragraphs into the daily's piece outlining Robideaux's decision to join the Republican Party, Alexander tells reporter Nicholas Persac that  "Robideaux is not one of my favorite people:"

"He is not well-thought-of by Republicans, and he should not expect support from any of the groups of organized Republicans in Lafayette Parish," Alexander said.

He said Robideaux is part of big-money politics backed by wealthy Lafayette residents who look after one another's political interests rather than staying true to Republican ideology.

In the past, some local Republican groups have reprimanded politicians for straying from Republican ideology, but since Robideaux was an Independent, those groups had no jurisdiction over his actions.

"Now that he's become a Republican, I think we will censure him too," Alexander said. "There is no doubt in my mind that while Robideaux thinks he is gaining support, he will be censured by several groups."

Tell us how you really feel, Ernie.

What's even more outrageous than the comments from Alexander, who didn't decide to not seek a third term as state rep. until his opponent (current state Rep. Page Cortez) substantially outraised him, is the timing. Robideaux's party switch ups his chances of being elected as speaker of the house when the Legislature reconvenes, and the powerful position would serve Lafayette well in terms of legislative influence. With term-limited state Sen. Mike Michot stepping down as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Robideaux's rise to the top House leadership position would fill the void.

Though we won't know until January whether the R instead of I before Robideaux's name will secure a win for speaker of the house, Robideaux tells the daily that many state lawmakers have said they can offer more public support of Robideaux after the switch. Alexander's assertions that Robideaux won't get help from "organized Republicans in Lafayette Parish" should be no sweat off Robideaux's back, since Robideaux's colleagues in the Legislature are the ones casting the speaker votes, not Alexander or any of his "organized Republican groups," also known as the TEA Party.

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