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Stephanie Grace: Sneering press release, bragging about 'retiring' Mary Landrieu proof Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal out of line

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana addresses activists from America's political right at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington in this Feb. 11, 2012, file photo. Jindal planned to file a lawsuit Wednesday against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Although he says he’s still praying over whether to seek the 2016 Republican nomination, clearly Gov. Bobby Jindal envisions himself as a potential president. So let’s say, for argument’s sake, that he runs and wins (bear with me here). And let’s say that one of his cabinet secretaries plans a trip to some state run… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: The Pledge against common sense

It’s known, in shorthand, as the pledge, and it sounds straightforward enough. “I, ____________, pledge to the taxpayers of the state of ____________, that I will oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” That’s the entirety of the “taxpayer protection pledge,” promulgated by the Washington, D.C., group Americans for Tax Reform.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: How fiercely ambitious U.S. Sen. David Vitter has gone from maverick to establishment

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., left, listens as Chuck Adams, with Tempo Insulation. voices his concerns regarding the Affordable Care Act, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in West Monroe, La. Vitter spoke about health care and minimum wage and took questions and concerns from West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber members during his talk at the West Monroe Convention Center. (AP Photo/The News-Star, Dacia Idom) NO SALES ORG XMIT: LAMON101

An important seat was up for grabs in Washington, D.C., and back in Louisiana, senior Republicans didn’t want to take any chances. So rather than risk an open-primary free-for all, they set out to winnow the field, identify a consensus candidate and present voters with a united front. The year was 1999. The office was the… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Why the phrase 'all politics is local' seems to be fading after Bill Cassidy vs. Mary Landrieu, other elections

You’ve surely heard the one about how all politics is local, the rule of thumb popularized by the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill. After watching this year’s endless elections, I’m wondering whether the saying has outlived its usefulness. Consider the U.S. Senate election.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: With Cassidy’s election, La. belongs to the GOP south

Congratulations, Louisiana voters. You’ve elected yourselves a Republican U.S. senator. If that sounds like a shallow assessment of U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy’s decisive win over three-term incumbent Mary Landrieu, chalk it up to the fact that Cassidy pursued a one-dimensional strategy of relentlessly linking Landrieu to unpopular President Barack Obama and his policies, with the Affordable… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Deja vu all over again at NOPD

Former New Orleans Police Superintendent Richard Pennington’s rough welcome to town 20 years ago is the stuff of legend. Recruited by newly elected Mayor Marc Morial to take over a deeply dysfunctional force, Pennington soon learned that things were even worse than he’d thought. An FBI drug sting, it turned out, had unearthed evidence against a dozen… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: It's easy for Louisiana GOP to be unified now, but just wait until next year

The Republican bigwigs who converged at Huey’s Bar in Baton Rouge on Monday billed the lunchtime gathering as a unity rally. And indeed, Republican leaders are unified around the common cause of ending Democrat Mary Landrieu’s 18-year U.S. Senate tenure next month and completing a remarkable clean sweep of statewide offices. They should enjoy it… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Edwards’ campaign the real reality show

Advocate staff file photo by Travis Spradling -- In this March 17, 2014, file photo, former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club in Baton Rouge, La. With enthusiasm and vigor that belie his 87 years, Edwards is running for Congress in south Louisiana in what would be his second political resurrection.

Call it the reality show former Gov. Edwin Edwards should have had in the first place, instead of “The Governor’s Wife,” A&E’s grotesque look at his new life with his much younger third bride, which he now concedes was “horrible.” “You may quote me as saying there’s nothing real about… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: McAllister, once written off, could prevail at polls

As Louisiana entered this season of unpredictable elections, one certainty seemed to be this: U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, the charismatic, self-professed family man who stormed the 5th District just last fall, handily beat his party’s establishment choice and then proceeded to get caught kissing a married aide on surveillance film leaked by someone… Continue reading →

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 →