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Louisiana interim Lt. Governor Scott Angelle, appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal to replace Mitch Landrieu when the latter won election as the mayor of New Orleans, has switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Angelle announced the change today at the Republican Leadership Summit in Baton Rouge.
Angelle’s appointment by Jindal this spring was an interesting development, and it fueled speculation that the Breaux Bridge native would eventually become a Republican. Angelle agreed not to become a candidate in the special election for the position he currently holds, which is being fought over by Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, a Republican, and Democrat lawyer Caroline Fayard.
That speculation was fueled to a new level when Angelle gave a stem-winding, decidedly un-Democrat speech at the Rally For Economic Survival in Lafayette in July of this year, protesting President Obama’s moratorium on offshore deepwater drilling.
Angelle is scheduled to return to his former post heading Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources, but he’s now likely to be the subject of speculation about a candidacy for statewide office next year. Should Dardenne win the Lt. Governor job in a week, his Secretary of State position will be open, though former state senator Tom Schedler, a Republican from Slidell, has expressed interest in running in a special election to be held in the spring. Should Fayard win, Angelle would be a natural Republican opponent in next year’s statewide elections.
At the time of the appointment as interim lieutenant governor, Angelle was secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, a capacity in which he served since 2004, having been initially appointed by Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco and reappointed by Governor Jindal. Angelle had served as the first parish president of Saint Martin Parish from 2000 to 2004 and as Vice President of Huval Companies in Lafayette, Louisiana, from 1998 to 2000. Prior to 1998 he was a member of the Saint Martin Parish Police Jury. Earlier, he worked as a petroleum land manager in Lafayette. He holds a Bachelor of Science in petroleum land management from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.