In a statewide race drawing very little coverage from the mainstream press, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon appears to maintain a traditional incumbent’s edge over challenger Tim Temple, whose most recent television commercials are nonetheless capturing the attention of Louisiana’s politicos.
A DeRidder native, Temple is the president of Temptan and his father was a founder of Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corp. As of last month he had $855,000 in the bank, and has thus far invested $1.1 million in personal money in his campaign.
A major beneficiary has been former Insurance Commissioner Robert Wooley, who endorsed Temple and has been paid $120,000 in consulting fees from the campaign since November.
Donelon, meanwhile, has $1 million in the bank backed by an aggressive fundraising machine. Donors say they believe at least $750,000 will be spent between now and the primary, possibly more.
Based on internal polling of campaigns not connected to the insurance commissioner’s race, Donelon is maintaining the same sort of lead he has enjoyed at this stage in previous cycles. Temple, however, has shown a spike due to his recent ad buy, which is expected, and there’s more to come.
If Temple wants more votes, he’ll have to get people interested in the content, consultants argue, which is a high hurdle, and he’ll need to knock some votes off of Donelon. That’s where third party activity may come into play in this race, and those involved in the election are waiting for it with open eyes and ears.