When Jay Dardenne was running for the Lieutenant Governor position he was elected to on Tuesday, we noted that despite the bad rap he’s received from conservatives for some of his votes in the state senate he’d managed to quietly do as much or more for conservatism as anybody in Louisiana history. It was Dardenne’s scrubbing of the voter rolls while Secretary of State, particularly in New Orleans, after Katrina which prevented the continuation of the Democrat/ACORN vote-fraud machine in Orleans Parish from affecting Louisiana’s elections.
But Dardenne isn’t really recognized for that contribution, and one reason why is the way he went about it. Not only was his action understated and professional, he could quickly offer up any number of perfectly honorable and practical reasons why silently going about eliminating dead people, fictional characters and folks who were living and voting elsewhere was a good thing to do regardless of whom it might help on Election Day. The controversy about doing so, then, never did materialize – and it was never a big news story.
And we’re now seeing another example of Dardenne making a tactical move that damages Louisiana Democrats with ample honest, non-partisan and practical justification. Specifically, he’s freezing out the possibility of the Democrats getting hold of his old job through a special election few would care about by delaying his inauguration as Lt. Governor until Nov. 22.
Bear in mind that while Dardenne’s good work in cleaning the voter rolls as Secretary of State has been an underappreciated accomplishment for Louisiana, a left-wing hack politician in that job has caused absolute havoc elsewhere in the country. In Minnesota, a George Soros-backed sleazeball Secretary of State had a hand in helping Al Franken steal a Senate seat from Norm Coleman in 2008 by letting, among other things, convicted felons vote by the thousands. Just this week a Soros-backed hack Secretary of State called the Connecticut gubernatorial election for the Democrat in an effort to get the Republican, who is now apparently actually ahead in the counting, to concede. That comes after Nevada’s Secretary of State Ross Miller, whom Soros also backed, has spent a week guffawing at the idea that there were voting irregularities in machines where Harry Reid’s name appeared to be the default vote in the Senate race there.
The long and short of it is you really don’t want a Democrat as your Secretary of State if you’d like to have some integrity in your voter rolls and vote-counting. In fact, next to your governor the Secretary of State is the most important position in state government.
But few people grasp that fact. So a special election, in which the turnout could be expected to be extremely low, gives a great opportunity for a Democrat desperate for statewide office, willing to put out whatever money is necessary to win and with zero scruples in casting himself or herself as something he/she is not in order to squeak into office (sound like anybody we know?) to do just that. While it’s not assured that would happen, it’s a risk.
But it’s a risk you can do away with if you just delay your resignation as Secretary of State until after Nov. 19, the deadline for which state law establishes the necessity for a special election. If Dardenne had chosen to assume his new office before that date, we’d be gearing up for a race early next year between interim job-holder Tom Schedler a Republican former state senator, and whomever might happen along.
Sure, you’d expect Schedler to have an advantage of sorts as an incumbent – but he doesn’t have much name recognition at this point and he hasn’t raised any money yet. Someone who could attract the amorous attention of a Soros, or perhaps various other monied communities within the traditional Democrat coalition, could easily best him in fundraising and then follow the Louisiana Democrat Party’s traditional methods of getting out the vote to sneak out a close race. And once in office, we might be treated to a “massive voter registration drive” centering around inner cities and college campuses which would put tens of thousands of people who never bothered to register before, for various reasons (like nonexistence, or because they were busy pushing up daisies). And then who knows what could happen.
But the effect of Dardenne’s choice to delay taking the new job until Nov. 22, the day he’s chosen to assume the oath of office, is to remove the possibility of this happening. It’s a nice political call. So you’d expect there to be a cacophony of howling about it from the Left, and given this only happened yesterday you can be sure it’s coming in the next round of op-eds and blog posts from the usual suspects.
But as we’ve come to expect from Dardenne, he’s got an answer for all the objections, which he put forth at his press conference yesterday…
“Consistent with my long-standing belief that we need to minimize special elections in Louisiana, I’m going to certainly be consistent with that notion and make certain that we don’t cost the state $6 million because of my election,” Dardenne said, announcing transition plans.
Now who can argue with saving the state $6 million? There’s a budget crisis on, don’t you know!
In fact, says Dardenne, he’s not really helping Schedler at all…
…Dardenne says it can be argued that Schedler could be better off with an April election because challengers would have a narrow window in which to raise money and get their names out.
Not really buying that argument, for reasons explained above. But he did a nice job putting it out there.
It’s a well-done move. It doesn’t insulate Schedler from a well-financed electoral challenge, but it does set him up as the only announced candidate for Secretary of State in the 2011 cycle. And that gives Schedler a chance to get a leg up on the competition in terms of building name recognition and raising money.
Of course, this is not a suggestion that Dardenne thinks of ways to stick it to Democrats. He’ll tell you he’s doing what makes sense for the people of Louisiana, and he’s absolutely correct on that score. But it just so happens it’s also a tactical stroke of high quality, and it will serve to insure the Left can’t raise a stealth candidate in an obscure special election to reel in one of the most important elected positions in the state.