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Stephanie Grace: Political role-reversal in letters column

Just what is the world coming to? First, coastal lawsuit mastermind John Barry teamed up with my proudly conservative colleague Quin Hillyer, a harsh critic of Barry’s attempt to force oil and gas companies to compensate his former agency, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority- East, for environmental damage caused by their operations. The two… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Landrieu Republicans thinner on the ground

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has been here, or someplace like here, before. She’s faced do-or-die elections and has had to convince a conservative electorate to go with a Democrat. Three times she’s pulled it off, although barely. Yet this time feels different. Polls and prognostications have varied, but just about all of them suggest Landrieu’s in her… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Claitor calls himself ‘utility player’

Senator Dan Claitor

Dan Claitor entered public life as a giant slayer, figuratively speaking. The Goliath in question was Gov. Bobby Jindal. Not 2014 Bobby Jindal, the man whose naked quest for national prominence has so alienated his constituents that no candidate here wants to be seen as his designee. We’re talking 2009 Jindal, still in his… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Dietzel benefits from family name

Paul Dietzel II

Most political candidates keep a running countdown to Election Day. Paul Dietzel can also rattle off exactly how long it’s been since he decided to run for Louisiana’s open 6th Congressional District seat. As of Wednesday, he said as he sat down for an interview, it had been 538 days. There’s an app for that, his campaign… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Graves touts Washington experience in race

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Garret Graves, who is running for the 6th Congressional district seat,  hired a political consultant who recently worked for one of his opponents. A state district judge ruled Wednesday that the consultant could continue working for Graves, at least for the time being.

Making sense of the 6th Congressional District race is a bit of a challenge. Beyond the Edwin Edwards show, there are a dozen other candidates, each trying to carve out a piece of turf. Nine are Republicans, which alone makes them far more marketable than the Democratic ex-governor in the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Edwards doesn’t help Democratic brand

The first thing Edwin Edwards told audience members at last week’s congressional forum before the Central Chamber of Commerce was that they were right, and he was wrong. Edwards said he’d had serious reservations when the city incorporated in 2005 and created its own school district separate and apart from East Baton Rouge Parish. But seeing what they’ve… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Cassidy skips debates; public loses out

Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy speaks to the media about his campaign for Louisiana's U.S. Senate seat after talking at the Louisiana Municipal Association's annual convention on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La. Cassidy is running against three-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

When a major party candidate for a big-time political office avoids debates, it could be a sign of either strength or weakness. In U.S. Rep. and Senate hopeful Bill Cassidy’s case, call it a bit of both. In agreeing to just two broadcast forums (Oct. 14 and 29) and turning down invitations from several television outlets… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Mary Landrieu holds a job in Washington

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu

News flash: Mary Landrieu works in Washington, D.C. What, you knew that? Perhaps you’re even thinking, “Isn’t that what we hired her to do when we elected her to the Senate?” If so, congratulations for keeping your eye on the ball. If not, let’s… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Funding for disease research in decline

The ice bucket challenge to raise money for and awareness of ALS has been a thing to behold. Countless people around the country have opened their hearts, minds and wallets to combat the devastating, and at this point incurable, neurological disease. After watching Saints star Steve Gleason wage his own battle in public, Louisianans were particularly primed to… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Vitter’s subtle message: I’m no Jindal

On paper, Gov. Bobby Jindal and David Vitter have so much in common that a stranger might have trouble telling them apart. Both are Louisiana natives who went to Ivy League colleges, then won prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. Both are conservative Republicans who generally hew to the far right. Throughout their careers, both have practically oozed political… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Serpas era was a tough slog

When Mitch Landrieu was first elected New Orleans mayor in 2010, he said that selecting a police chief would be the most important decision he’d make. His choice, to nobody’s surprise, was Ronal Serpas, a New Orleans native who’d risen through the NOPD ranks, served at hugely successful superintendent Richard Pennington’s side and then left town to lead… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Would-be successors bucking Jindal on Core

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne’s phone started ringing first thing Thursday, and it’s no wonder. Dardenne had penned a blistering letter in that morning’s Advocate condemning Gov. Bobby Jindal for injecting “D.C. style political games” into the state’s peaceful, orderly and long-planned transition to the Common Core standards and their associated tests. So far so… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Reedcare, for the whole family

A hospital’s primary mission is to take care of people, and I’ll give St. Tammany Parish Hospital this: For years, it sure took care of Walter Reed. The details remain somewhat muddled, but the picture of an inappropriately cozy relationship between the public hospital and the controversial district attorney is growing clearer… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Legal reasoning getting ridiculous

I think everyone can agree that the U.S. Attorney commenting scandal revealed an alarming “gotcha” attitude held by several of the Eastern District of Louisiana’s now-disgraced former top prosecutors. But can we also, finally, agree that two wrongs don’t make a right? That appalling, unprofessional and utterly undignified behavior on the part… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: A tale of two governors

Gov. Bobby Jindal, left, and former Gov. Edwin Edwards

It’s official. The national media can’t get enough of a certain Louisiana governor. And no, it’s not that governor. The politician who’s captured the imagination of at least some out-of-state junkies is governor-turned-inmate-turned-congressional candidate Edwin Edwards — who, unlike a certain current occupant of the office, has a knack for attracting… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Jindal fails leadership test on Common Core

Early in his first term, Gov. Bobby Jindal found himself backed into a corner. Although he quietly opposed legislative efforts to roll back income tax hikes established by the voter-approved Stelly tax swap, Jindal failed to quell a move to repeal them. Then some legislators, eyeing huge but temporary Hurricane-Katrina-and-oil-driven surpluses, started talking about repealing the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Film chronicles Head’s political journey

The tantalizing title of a new documentary about post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, which airs Monday on PBS, is “Getting Back to Abnormal.” It could just as well be called “The Education of Stacy Head.” The filmmakers take us back to 2010 and the sharp-tongued, and white, New Orleans city councilwoman’s re-election campaign in a majority-black district… Continue reading →