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Cassidy fundraising outpaces Landrieu in run-up to Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff

Leading in the polls heading into the Dec. 6 runoff for the U.S. Senate, Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, also led in fundraising over his Democratic opponent, incumbent Mary Landrieu, in the latest filing period, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Cassidy reported taking in $2.2 million from Oct. 16 through Nov. 16. He… Continue reading →

Presidential primary poll: Bobby Jindal far behind competition, but U.S. News analysis has good news for him

Gov. Bobby Jindal is shown in this June 2, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The good news for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is that, if he decides to run for president, his seat as the state's leader could aid him, according to a new U.S. News and World Report analysis. The bad news, according to a new presidential primary poll, is that Jindal trails Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov.… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal scheduled to be in Virginia on election day

On the Dec. 6 runoff election day, Gov. Bobby Jindal is scheduled to speak to the Republican Party of Virginia’s annual gathering of party activists. That state’s Republican activists meet for seminars and speeches at what is called the Donald W. Huffman Advance. Huffman was chairman of Virginia’s Republicans. Continue reading full story on the… Continue reading →

Some La. communities support corporal punishment in public schools

The Louisiana Department of Education showed 4,460 reported incidents of corporal punishment against students in the 2011-2012 school year, according to an analysis by The Huffington Post. That calculates out to a rate 6.3 incidents of paddling or other physical punishments meted out in the state’s public schools per thousand students. Continue reading full story on… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz -- Report: Group Benefits revisions could be costly

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Huey P. Long's statue and grave in front of the State Capitol Building.

A new Legislative Fiscal Office analysis concludes that the latest revisions to the state health insurance program ease some of the out-of-pocket expenses of its 230,000 state employee, teacher, retiree and dependent members. Under the original revamp, Fiscal Office director Travis McIlwain projected average out-of-pocket costs to increase by 47 percent over current Group Benefits health… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal joins Republican governors in Florida

Advocate staff file photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is spending part of this week at a posh beach resort with some of his closest allies, but ones who also could turn to foes depending on how the Republican field for president shakes out. Republican governors, governors-elect and major GOP supporters from across the country are in Boca Raton, Florida, through… Continue reading →

Politics blog: Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise disputes claim that House leadership is male-dominated

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, speaks during the Baton Rouge Press Club's weekly luncheon Monday.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise defended the U.S. House's Republican leadership on MSNBC, saying there's a "number of other women who are very talented that are part of our conference leadership." The House GOP majority on Tuesday announced white men would chair 20 of 21 standing committees. Check out our politics blog for more… Continue reading →

Race to the finish: Supporters of Keystone XL pipeline bill critical for Mary Landrieu scramble to find last Senate vote

In this photo taken Nov. 4, 2014, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., acknowledges supporters at her election night headquarters in New Orleans. Republicans have promised her Senate opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy a seat on the Senate's energy committee if he defeats Landrieu in the state's runoff election next month. The move undercuts one of Landrieu's chief campaign arguments, that voters in the state with a robust oil and gas industry need her and her seniority on the committee.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

WASHINGTON -- With the clock ticking, supporters of a Senate bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline are still scrambling to find the last vote. With 59 Senators publicly voicing support, the hunt was on for the 60th vote before a critical vote Tuesday to advance the measure. Maine independent Sen. Angus King left the possibility open,… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate race sparks GOP effort to stop voter fraud

The state Republican Party has actived a Voter Integrity Program in advance of the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff election, officials announced Monday. Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia will chair the effort aimed at preventing voter fraud as Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy tries to oust veteran Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.… Continue reading →

Report: Ex-Bobby Jindal spokesperson Melissa Sellers accepts job as Florida Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Melissa Sellers

Melissa Sellers, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's former spokesman, has agreed to be Florida Gov. Rick Scott's new chief of staff, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Sellers was considered a frontrunner for the job. She was also linked to a possible job with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Check out our politics… Continue reading →

Report: Protestors lay inflatable pipeline on Mary Landrieu's D.C. front yard to protest Keystone pipeline

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.,  speaks at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans about the election Senate election results in her contest with U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Tea Party candidate Rob Maness in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline are protesting on the front yard of Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Washington D.C. home Monday. The protestors have laid a large inflatable pipeline in front of the senator's home, according to the New York Times. On Friday, the U.S. House approved a Keystone bill by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy that’s part of… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Greenstein tells story to grand jury

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- West Feliciana Parish Schools Supt. Hollis Milton.

The Jindal administration initially expressed support for its health chief, Bruce Greenstein, as it canceled a Medicaid claims processing contract with Client Network Services Inc. amid grand jury probes. But Greenstein, a former CNSI official, soon became Jindal’s ex-health secretary. Greenstein tells a state grand jury that Paul Rainwater — the man who said… Continue reading →

House sends Bill Cassidy-sponsored bill approving Keystone XL oil pipeline to Senate

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Bill Cassidy's election results party on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Washington The U.S. House Friday approved a Keystone XL pipeline bill by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy that’s part of a political drama co-starring him and his Democratic opponent in the Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff in Louisiana, incumbent Mary Landrieu. Meanwhile, Landrieu is lobbying her fellow Democrats to support an identical… Continue reading →

Saturday meeting location changed

A new meeting site is set for Saturday’s Women in Politics “spiritual enlightenment breakfast.” The gathering is now scheduled for 9 a.m. at the LSU Faculty Club, according to Carolyn Hill, one of the organizers and a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The club is at the corner of Highland… Continue reading →

Pew Post-Elections survey finds little enthusiasm

Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race has yet to be decided, but the general public is pretty ambivalent about the GOP takeover following last week’s elections, at least according to a post-election survey by the non-profit, non-partisan Pew Research Center. Pew found that, nationally, not quite half (about 48 percent) of people are happy about the new Republican majority… Continue reading →

Womens’ group plans Saturday gathering

A group called Women in Politics will hold its third annual “spiritual enlightenment breakfast” at 9 a.m. Saturday. The gathering is scheduled for the LSU Student Union, Independence Room 303. The speaker will be Carol G. Rowe, who is co-founder of the Upperroom Bible Church in New Orleans and Slidell. Rowe also is the founder… Continue reading →

Maness ‘odd’ remark would apply to some in GOP

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness speaks after registering for the Nov. 4 ballot on Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, in Baton Rouge. Maness, a retired Air Force colonel and tea party favorite, is running against Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

Republican Rob Maness gave a rousing speech during a GOP “unity rally” in Baton Rouge this week — an event held in support of Bill Cassidy’s bid against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in Louisiana’s Dec. 6 U.S. Senate runoff. Maness touched on Louisiana points of pride, anti-President Barack Obama sentiment and jokes about Democrats’ possible efforts to… Continue reading →

Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise opposes President Obama's 'net neutrality' plan

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, speaks during the Baton Rouge Press Club's weekly luncheon Monday.

Obama's plan calls for the Federal Communications Commission to take over broadband internet service. Check out our politics blog for more details on the plan and why Republicans are against it.… Continue reading →

Treasurer John Kennedy: Louisiana deficit spending worse than past years

State Treasure John Kennedy; La. Gov. Bobby Jindal; Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols

A fiscal clash between state Treasurer John Kennedy and the Jindal administration kicked up another notch Monday. In a new salvo, Kennedy warned that the administration continues to spend more revenues than are coming in. And he said it is worse than in past years. “Mid-year budget cuts are not at all unrealistic at… Continue reading →

Voters re-elect 3 to East Baton Rouge School Board, force runoffs in 3 other districts

Voters re-elected three incumbents to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Tuesday, but forced Dec. 6 runoffs in three other races, in the process sending incumbent Mary Lynch packing after just six months on the board, according to complete but unofficial returns. Lynch’s defeat means business-supported board members are likely to have at least… Continue reading →

Capitol Buzz: Moment of silence amid election chatter

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

No, your television set is not broken. It’s a different kind of commercial this election season. The 15-second spot contains no audio. Viewers see a screen with a written message: “Better is a quiet break during this busy political season. Please remember to vote.”… Continue reading →

UNO poll: Bill Cassidy would be favored in runoff over Mary Landrieu; Louisiana headed in wrong direction

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., right, and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, participate in a Senate race debate with Republican candidate and Tea Party favorite Rob Maness  on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A majority of Louisiana voters say the state is heading in the “wrong direction.” The state’s biggest problems are education and unemployment, they told researchers from the University of New Orleans in a recent survey. Both Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Democratic President Barack Obama are not well-liked — earning 40 percent and 38 percent… Continue reading →

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration accused of improperly destroying records

A flap between Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the Jindal administration over destruction of state health insurance program records boiled over Thursday. The state Office of Group Benefits this summer stopped sending Schedler’s office original copies of member medical claims for preservation. OGB oversees health insurance for nearly a quarter million state employees, public school teachers,… Continue reading →

Richmond favored in revamped 2nd District

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond addresses Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.

The 2nd Congressional District looks different, but U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, of New Orleans, is a heavy favorite to win a third term. “I think that in a short period of time I have become a key member of Congress,” said Richmond, who enjoys huge financial and name-recognition advantages in the Nov. 4 primary. He… Continue reading →

‘Too skinny’ to run for president? Report says Bobby Jindal beefing up

Wearing a Kansas City Royals jersey, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, left, looks on as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, gives a speech at New Steel and Pipe Supply in New Century, Kan., Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. Jindal was in the Sunflower State stumping for Brownback, who is running for reelection against Democratic candidate Paul Davis. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has gained 13 pounds as he mulls a run for president, according to the National Review. The conservative news outlet cites “a source close to” Jindal in its report on his weight gain. See the complete story here.Continue reading →

Early voting turnout comparable to 2008

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

Four days into early voting and John Couvillon, the Baton Rouge pollster, tracks turnout as similar to 2008, with 127,737 voters casting early ballots between Tuesday and Friday. During the first four days of early voting in 2008, a presidential election in which U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu was last re-elected, 137,223 votes were cast, Couvillon said. Interestingly,… Continue reading →

Mary Landrieu looks to seniors in tight race

Facing a tight re-election bid, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is ramping up efforts to court seniors, hoping older voters will help push her over the edge to win a fourth term. Landrieu on Tuesday made several stops across the state to tout an endorsement from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a Washington-based… Continue reading →

Secretary of State Tom Schedler eyes voter turnout

Louisiana election turnout could be low for Nov. 4 statewide balloting based on historical data, Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Tuesday. Schedler said past history in recent federal elections indicates a potential 45 to 50 percent voter participation rate. “I hope I’m wrong,” Schedler said. “This election should draw 70 percent because of the magnitude… Continue reading →

Former President Bill Clinton stumps for Mary Landrieu

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Former President Bill Clinton shakes hands and works the crowd after joining Senator Mary Landrieu at an Early Voting Rally.

Former President Bill Clinton told a cheering crowd of Mary Landrieu supporters on Monday that voter turnout and early voting will be key to Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race this fall. “I’m fixing to make an argument, and I love to do that, but it won’t matter to a hill of beans if you don’t show up,” Clinton… Continue reading →

U.S. Senate campaigns in Louisiana relying on social media to deliver messages

While the leading candidates in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race debated on a stage in Shreveport and on TVs throughout the state last week, their Twitter feeds battled it out online. “Senator Landrieu is clearly desperate. My bill in the state Senate was voluntary and market-based, unlike #Obamacare,” Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy’s campaign blasted out about… Continue reading →

Magazine notes Jindal comments on Ebola

Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s incursion in the world of Ebola politics brought him some ink in the latest edition of The New Yorker magazine. The article, by Michael Specter, is titled “The Fear Equation” and Jindal is the example used for fueling public fears. “Actually, all it takes to discombobulate a… Continue reading →

Government workers down 30K over 6 years

As Bobby Jindal prepared for his 2008 inauguration as governor, state government workers numbered about 93,500. Today, that workforce hovers at 62,000 employees — fewer than it’s been in more than two decades. Spending on payroll has decreased by about $1 billion annually. At the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System, retirees now exceed the number… Continue reading →

Treasurer says Jindal ‘Obamacared’ Group Benefits

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has “Obamacared” Group Benefits, the state’s health insurance program, according to state Treasurer John Kennedy. The Obama administration is taking $700 billion from Medicare to fund the federal health care revamp formally known as the Affordable Care Act, Kennedy said. “That was wrong,” Kennedy said. “Now… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal: Increase defense spending

Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit in Washington, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Gov. Bobby Jindal says the federal government should ramp up defense spending and protect the defense budget from the threat of sequestration. Jindal, a Republican who is weighing a run for president in 2016, unveiled his national defense policy plan Monday in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., that was highly critical of… Continue reading →

800 turn out for Common Core forum

Advocate File Photo -- This is Mound A, also called the Bird Mound, as seen from the tram tour of Poverty Point State Historic Site on Saturday, July 7, 2012.

State Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, said 800 people turned out for a gathering on Common Core on Sept. 29 in Moss Bluff. “Just real people with real concerns,” Geymann said in a text message about the gathering’s attendees. Geymann is one of the Legislature’s top critics of the new academic standards in reading, writing and… Continue reading →

Greenstein surrenders to police

Advocate staff file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- Former Lousiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein.

Former state health chief Bruce Greenstein turned himself in to law enforcement officials Thursday — nine days after an East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted him on nine counts of perjury. Nineteenth Judicial District Court Judge Mike Erwin, of Baton Rouge, set a $10,000 bail. Greenstein did not have to post any security… Continue reading →

Landrieu, Cassidy tout endorsements

AP file photosCassidy    Landrieu

After Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy didn’t attend its candidate forum Tuesday night, the nonprofit Alliance for Good Government has thrown its support behind incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a New Orleans Democrat. “Taking positions and interacting directly with voters should be a responsibility of all people seeking office in this country, which is why I’m looking… Continue reading →

Mary Landrieu and Rob Maness debate in Kenner

Rob Maness, Mary Landrieu

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican challenger Rob Maness squared off on issues related to wetlands, energy policy and busting through the partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., in front of a packed crowd at Kenner City Hall on Tuesday night, but the leading GOP candidate, Bill Cassidy, wasn’t in attendance. State Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, said… Continue reading →

Documents shed light on LSU hospital changes

The newly rewritten deals for the private groups that would administer most of the state’s charity hospitals eliminate the funding guarantees that bothered federal authorities, but would allow for an early out, if things go awry, according to documents released by LSU on Tuesday. The private partner’s obligation to continue providing “core” and “key” services at the… Continue reading →

Outside groups aim to register Louisiana voters ahead of deadline

Louisianians have about a week left to register to vote in the November election, and with a heated U.S. Senate race having gained national attention, several third-party groups are working to get more people on the state’s voter rolls. Outside voter registration efforts locally have included in-person voter drives, as well as official-looking prefilled registration forms… Continue reading →

Landry’s views loud and clear on teacher evaluations

Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling -- The Louisiana State Capitol

While teacher unions usually lead the way in criticizing Louisiana’s new methods for evaluating public school teachers, they had to take a back seat last week. Mickey Landry, executive director of the Choice Foundation in New Orleans, was succinct in his view of what should be done about the current job evaluation methods. “I think we… Continue reading →

Gov. Bobby Jindal rouses Values Voter crowd in Washington

Associated Press file photo J. Scott Applewhite -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal had the Values Voter Summit crowd in Washington, D.C., laughing and applauding with a speech Friday that was heavy on criticism of President Barack Obama and sprinkled with the governor’s personal story and positions on domestic and foreign policy. National media hailed the speech both as one of Jindal’s best and one… Continue reading →