David Vitter

S. Lincoln

If you’ve been thinking there’s a surplus of candidates for the 2016 presidential election, just wait till you hear how many are eyeing Louisiana’s 2016 U.S. Senate race.

It’s been just over 3 weeks since David Vitter conceded the governor’s race and announced, “I’m eager to refocus on the important work of the United States Senate, but I’m only going to be doing that for one more year, through this term.”

Now potential candidates for that open seat are coming out of the woodwork. First up was Republican congressman John Fleming of Minden.

Sue Lincoln

Before November 24th, nearly every political expert agreed: John Bel Edwards couldn’t win.

“He’s a Democrat running in a state and a time where nobody believes a Democrat can win statewide,” Edwards’ campaign strategist Jared Arsement said was what they were told, over and over,

He was among the campaign insiders who gathered with political experts at LSU last week, for a debriefing on how Edwards won – and David Vitter lost – the Louisiana governorship. Mary Patricia Wray with the Edwards campaign admitted it was a seemingly impossible task.

“One of the first polls that we ever ran showed the Governor-elect at, I think, seven or eight percent name recognition. And we of course all sat around and said, ‘Well this great. We have so much room to grow’,” Wray recounted with a laugh. “But the same poll that told us nobody knew who we were also showed us that we had a very narrow, but a very clear path to winning.”

Sue Lincoln

You open the refrigerator door to grab some milk, and you’re overwhelmed with leftovers from yesterday’s feast. 

Now that we’ve had some time to digest the election, Kevin Litten, political reporter with NOLA.com, joins me to inventory the election leftovers.

Litten says the meat of the feast had to have been the question of integrity.

“John Bel was so effective at making this case about character.”

S. Lincoln

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee meets this morning to vote on the Jindal administration plan to solve the current budget shortfall. That’s got David Vitter’s and John Bel Edwards’ knickers in a knot.

Vitter says it solves nothing, describing the administration’s plan as, “More patching, more moving money around, more depending on very speculative money; and for us to be sweeping that to solve our problems now, I think is irresponsible.”

Edwards agrees.

S. Lincoln: screenshot from debate broadcast

The Revenue Estimating Conference met Monday, acknowledging oil and gas prices, sales tax and corporate tax collections are far below what was anticipated.

Legislative fiscal analyst Greg Albrecht summed it up, saying, “We’re a long way from hitting the total forecast.”

The state is $370-million away, in the current fiscal year.  The biggest hole is created not by oil prices, but by corporate taxes. The explanation offered was businesses had rushing to claim tax credits before legislative reductions kicked in.