The Times-Picayune reports tonight that state Rep. Walker Hines, who switched from Democrat to Republican on Nov. 12, will be running for Secretary of State in this fall’s elections.
Hines, 27, said in a statement that Louisiana has to move past “recycled politicians” and that he’ll “improve Louisiana’s election systems, modernize our state website and facilitate job creation throughout.” He’s the youngest member of the state legislature, and was only 24 when he was elected.
The announcement that Hines will run for Louisiana’s No. 3 statewide job is not a surprise. It’s been rumored ever since the freshman legislator announced he was switching parties.
The Secretary of State race looks to be the best-contested of the group, as current officeholder Tom Schedler has only held the position since November. Current lieutenant governor Jay Dardenne moved into his current office from the Secretary of State position after winning a special election Nov. 2 to replace Mitch Landrieu, who was elected mayor of New Orleans last spring.
Schedler didn’t report any cash on hand in the latest round of campaign finance disclosures, indicating that while Louisiana’s other statewide officials have sizable war chests already built up he’s still putting his effort together. Hines’ disclosure form filed yesterday shows he’s got $21,000 in cash on hand, having already spent $40,000 on campaign activities even before declaring a run.
Among the other potential candidates the rumor mill has thrown around are Caroline Fayard, who got 43 percent of the vote in the special election against Dardenne, former congressman Joseph Cao and the acting lieutenant governor Dardenne replaced last year, Scott Angelle. The latter could be the heavy hitter in the race if he opts for Secretary of State rather than a bid to reclaim his former position from Dardenne. Angelle is sitting on a campaign war chest of $361,000 at present, nearly all of which he raised last year.