After East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux’s switch to the Republican Party was made public yesterday, it didn’t take long for the recriminations from his former party to surface.
Louisiana Democrat Party media guy Kevin Franck blasted an e-mail this morning hammering Gautreaux as a hypocrite and a lousy public official.
Following yesterday’s announcement that East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux has defected to the other party, we will begin revisiting the highlights of the Sheriff’s big-spending first term, his endorsement and support of Mayor-President Kip Holden’s initiatives and his rocky relationship with the tea party crowd.
Franck’s e-mail then launches into a shot at Gautreaux having to do with a nice ride the Sheriff scored a couple of years ago…
From the 2/29/08 Baton Rouge Business Report:
The basic four-door black Tahoe set the Sheriff’s Office back $28,295, but extras increased the price by $15,000. That includes two upgrades to give the vehicle second-row heated seats, a Bose speaker system that provides “panoramic, concert-like sound” and a remote starter and lift gate, among other things.
The department shelled out another $3,976 for a “sun-and-sound package,” which a Gerry Lane salesman says includes a sunroof, navigation system, DVD flip-down screen television and rear camera. On top of that, Gautreaux’s ride has some serious bling—a $1,573 “VPA chrome package” with tow hooks, grill, handles and exhaust tip, all in chrome.
The e-mail indicates it’s the first of several “oppo research” pieces it will be throwing out there against the sheriff.
If the attacks by the state Dems strike our readers as a little petulant, it’s not a surprise. It’s also not the first time Franck has launched broadsides against ex-Democrats fleeing the little plantation on Government Street.
What’s interesting, though, is what Franck didn’t say. Wouldn’t say in a million years.
Because Gautreaux’s switch isn’t the product of some ideological conversion. And it’s less the product of seeing which way the wind is blowing, like John Alario and Walker Hines’ switches were.
What Hayride sources tell us is that Gautreaux’s switch has to do with the fact he and East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, who’s a Democrat, are on the outs. And it has a lot less to do with politics than behavior.
This is a little delicate, so we’ll try to get through it without damaging any innocent people.
Basically, the story is that Gautreaux has a female employee who is quite attractive. Holden noticed this. And acted on it by hitting on her repeatedly. The advances were unwanted, and Gautreaux approached the mayor about it. Unpleasantness ensued, and a political alliance lay in pieces as a result.
And now, Gautreaux recognizes that if Holden were to poison the well for him with the black vote in East Baton Rouge, he’s dead meat against a Republican.
Naturally, it’s a lot easier just to attack Gautreaux as a spendthrift sheriff and a crappy crimefighter, which Franck will probably do. He might even have a point in regaling us with those examples of perfidy and incompetence that his crack research staff can dig up. He might even consider bashing Gautreaux as a frontrunner or a bandwagoner, which he’s kinda-sorta done before even while getting it wrong. We all know Franck won’t do that, though, since that would be an admission that having a D next to your name is poison in this state nowadays and it would invite the question as to why that is.
But we definitely know that Franck doesn’t want anybody talking about Gautreaux switching parties so as to distance himself from Holden. After all, Holden is one of the state’s top four or five Democrat personages. If you go by the number of people he represents in office, he’s third behind Mary Landrieu and Cedric Richmond. And it would certainly not look good that the mayor’s antics might be chasing off fellow Democrat officeholders.
The state Democrat Party absolutely doesn’t want anybody to know about that.
So instead we’ll get a cavalcade of evidence that Sid Gautreaux has been livin’ the life as the sheriff here in Baton Rouge. That’s something nobody in the state’s Democrat headquarters had a problem with before, mind you, but it’s much greener grass to graze on than what the word on the street says is the reason Gautreaux turned his coat.