Mary Landrieu takes aim at ‘Jindal Gap’

Special to the Herald-Guide

April 04 at 9:15 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

By Jeremy Alford and John Maginnis

Even though she’s busy running her own race, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is lending a hand to the policy campaign being undertaken by state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa.

Nevers has filed SB 96 to force the state to accept $16 billion in federal Medicaid money to expand access to basic health care for 240,000 citizens—the same Medicaid expansion opposed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Of those who would benefit, Landrieu stated in a press release, “Many of them earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to afford coverage in the new marketplaces. They have fallen into the ‘Jindal Gap’ because Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to say no.”

The move pits Landrieu more firmly against Jindal this session. It’s unknown, however, how far Landrieu’s support will extend.

The bill is now pending action before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

While many political observers were expecting to hear first from U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who’s running for governor, this session, it was Landrieu who broke the federal-state lawmaker seal.

Vitter has long had an interest in state politics, from helping elect conservative members to the Legislature to offering comments on the Jindal administration’s policies.Litigation reform for the oil and gas industry, in particular, was thought to be an issue of interest for Vitter this session, but Jindal may have beaten him to the punch last week by announcing a compromise on so-called legacy lawsuits.

Of course, the session isn’t over yet. Adjournment is scheduled for June 2.A.G.’s race continues shaping upWhile state Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, has established a political action committee that would help him run for speaker of the House next term, he’s still open to the possibility of joining the race for attorney general in 2015.

“I haven’t ruled it out,” he said.

A Voter Consumer Research poll released last month shows Attorney General Buddy Caldwell leading fellow Republican and former Congressman Jeff Landry, 23-15 percent. But it also stated that a Democratic candidate, yet to materialize, would lead them both at 33 percent.

In related news, Marty Maley, a private attorney who recently switched to Republican, is said to be interviewing top-tier talent for his campaign for attorney general. Already he’s working with Baton Rouge consultant Roy Fletcher.

Maley considers himself the “dark horse candidate” in the developing race and scheduled several fundraisers in 2013 in conjunction with some outreach to Louisiana’s sheriffs.

But for now, the money isn’t showing up in his campaign finance reports. As of Feb. 14, he only had $7,500 in cash on hand, including a $1,000 personal loan and another $8,600 in debts owed to himself and his business.

Those numbers, however, aren’t a true indicator of Maley’s money operations. He’s a well-known fundraiser for district attorneys below I-10 and made a name for himself as an assistant district attorney in the Port Allen-based 18th Judicial District.

During a fundraiser last week, he said his campaign had exceeded $125,000 in the bank with even more pledges set to up the ante.

“We’re going to have a ticker on our campaign website pretty soon that shows money raised and cash on hand,” he said.

Caldwell, who spent a large part of last year listening to politicos say he was growing vulnerable, did little to increase his campaign kitty. As of Feb. 12, Caldwell had slightly more than $410,000 in cash on hand, roughly the same figure he reported a year ago. He raised just $17,000 in 2012 and increased his take by just $40,000 in 2013.Landry only just formed his campaign for attorney general on paper, filing a statement of organization with the Ethics Administration on Jan. 23. Since then, though, he has actively been raising money.

“Jeff has already received a tremendous amount of commitments and support from people who are standing behind him in this race,” said Brent Littlefield, Landry’s chief consultant.Shreveport mayor coy about congressional hopesTerm limited and facing down a fall congressional election cycle, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover told LaPolitics he is undecided about what to do next.

Still, lawmakers from the region-Glover served in the House-contend he is being heavily lobbied to run in the 4th District against Congressman John Fleming, R-Minden. “I’m very flattered. It has been suggested that I run for many things, including the city limits,” he said.

Pressed for an answer, he sidestepped.

“I haven’t given it enough thought to even rule it out,” said the mayor.

As the prevailing theory goes, Edwin Edwards running in the 6th District and Glover in the 4th would help boost Democratic turnout and thus help U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu claim victory.

Then there’s his current position. Already announced for mayor are state Reps. Patrick Williams and Roy Burrell. City Councilman Sam Jenkins said he would consider running, then ruled it out and changed his mind in an effort to reconsider. He’s done that twice now. Caddo Commissioner Michael Williams and civic activist Maxine Sarpy are said to be likely contenders as well.

But mostly, everyone is waiting on former mayor Keith Hightower, whose decision will largely shape the race.“I have endorsed in the past and I expect to be as involved in the race as much as any average concerned citizen,” Glover said.They Said It“We have a rule in our house that if you lose TOPS, you lose Pops.” -State Rep. Rob Shadoin“I’m trying to digest this bill.” -State Rep. Randal Gaines, on a bill to allow the sale of wine




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