Capitol Buzz for Dec. 29, 2013

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said he’ll have $1 million in his campaign account for the 2015 lieutenant governor’s race when reports are due in February.

“I really believe unless you have $1 million in the bank, when those reports come out it’s going to be hard to get traction,” Nungesser said last week. “It’s tough raising money during the holidays, but I think we are going to hit our goal.”

Nungesser, a Republican, has a “Billy’s Birthday Bash” fundraiser Jan. 10 in Metairie .

The $1 million is just the start toward what Nungesser thinks serious contenders will need in the race. “It’s going to be a $3 million race,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is running for governor, creating an open seat. Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, a Democrat, and state Sen. Elbert Guillory, an Opelousas Republican, have been mentioned as potential candidates.

With an open governor’s race on the ballot, “you are going to have to fight for airtime and any type of free publicity,” Nungesser said.

He loaned $1.3 million in personal funds to help finance his 2011 campaign for lieutenant governor and raised more than he put up in private donations. He had the backing of Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who is now considering a governor’s race bid.

During 2012, fundraising allowed repayment of $455,000 of Nungesser campaign loans. Repayments made in 2013 won’t be reported until February.

“I have trouble asking somebody to bet on me and believe in me if I’m not willing to risk something myself. That’s why I put what I can afford to put in it, and I will do the same thing as I did last time,” Nungesser said.

Vitter sees Jindal run

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s political operation is keeping quiet about Sen. David Vitter’s speculation that the governor would run for president in 2016.

Vitter’s speculation was picked up by European and Indian newspapers, as well as a number of outlets in America.

“I do think he’ll run. I think he’s been running, and I think he’ll be a meaningful and significant candidate,” Vitter told C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program last week.

Vitter added he respects Jindal and agrees with the governor’s political values.

Interesting to Louisiana political watchers is how the comments fit in with a relationship that often appears fairly chilly. The two highest ranking Republicans in the state rarely appear together and when they do there’s little of the flattery and back-slapping that occasions many of the joint appearances of Louisiana politicos.

Jindal wrote in an early December column for Politico magazine that it was “ridiculous to speculate on the 2016 race.”

He wrote that he has settled on the “I don’t know” answer to reporters’ questions about his intentions.

Paul Hollis eyes Senate race

Republican state Rep. Paul B. Hollis, of Mandeville, last week filed the Federal Election Commission papers necessary to run for the U.S. Senate. He also officially created a “Friends of” committee with the Louisiana Secretary of State.

The paperwork allows Hollis, 41, to start gathering money for a challenge to the re-election of three-term U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, and retired U.S. Air Force officer Rob Maness already have announced and are actively campaigning.

Hollis said he saw the need for a more conservative candidate in the race.

He also said he could raise the $5 million to $10 million necessary to wage a credible run. He is the son of the late state Sen. Ken Hollis, R-Metairie.

Hollis was, however, unprepared to make an official announcement, at least for a few more weeks.

When he announced his political intentions in 2008, he did so in “Coin News.”

A numismatist, who advises buyers on the purchase and sale of rare coins and currency, Hollis has written a book that shows the parallels between American historical events and the coins struck at the time.

Grammy nominees concert

The “Only in Louisiana” celebration of Louisiana’s 2014 Grammy nominees takes place at 7 p.m. Jan. 11 in Baton Rouge Magnet High School’s auditorium.

Hot 8 Brass Band, Zachary Richard, and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience will headline the concert, which is sponsored by the State Office of Tourism. Each of the acts is among 11 Louisiana finalists for America’s top music honors.

Other Grammy nominees from Louisiana are Hunter Hayes, Tim McGraw, Allen Toussaint, Terence Blanchard, Bobby Rush, Andrew Duhon, Bishop Paul S. Morton and PJ Morton. Additionally, two Grammy-nominated compilation albums feature Dege Legg, the Savoy Family Band, the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band and David Doucet. Grammy nods include nominations in Best Regional Roots, Best Americana Roots and best album or performances in jazz, country, blues, R&B and gospel.

The event will also recognize artists who participated in the 2013 Louisiana Music Ambassador Program, a Louisiana Office of Tourism program that sponsors Louisiana acts playing at major festivals and venues nationally and internationally.

Music Ambassadors touted Louisiana as a top tourist destination for music lovers during their performances, while distributing Louisiana Pick Your Passion items to crowds in more than 20 U.S. states and eight foreign countries.

Advance tickets are $25 and available at

Compiled by the Capitol news bureau. Contact email is