Dardenne Ad Hammers Nungesser On Donations To Democrats

The 2011 Louisiana Lieutenant Governor campaign is officially off and running. We’ve got our first full-on attack ad.

The Dardenne campaign is launching this haymaker – which was actually uploaded to YouTube on Friday – in ripping Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser for having made campaign donations to lefty politicians like Barbara Boxer, Charlie Melancon, Mitch Landrieu and Mary Landrieu…

Is the criticism valid? Well, courtesy of OpenSecrets.org this is Nungesser’s federal election donation record…

NUNGESSER, BILLY
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
OCEAN CHEF CATERING 11/11/04 $1,000 Tauzin, Billy III (R)
NUNGESSER, BILLY
NEW ORLEANS,LA 70131
GENERAL MARINE CATERING 7/23/90 $1,000 Bagert, Ben (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMNIES PARISH/PRESIDENT 2/23/11 $2,400 McCarthy, Kevin (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINE PARISH/PRESIDENT 9/29/07 $2,300 Alexander, Rodney (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH/ELECTED OFFICIAL 12/27/07 $2,300 Scalise, Steve (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH GOVT/PARISH PRES 2/21/08 $2,300 Vitter, David (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
RETIRED/RETIRED 2/1/06 $2,100 Jindal, Bobby (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
RETIRED/RETIRED 2/1/06 $2,100 Jindal, Bobby (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH GOVERNMENT/PARIS 3/28/08 $1,000 Wicker, Roger (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH/PRESIDENT 2/19/08 $1,000 Kopplin, Andrew David (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
3/31/99 $1,000 Treen, David C (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
NEW ORLEANS,LA 70174
GENERAL MARINE LEASING 3/29/98 $1,000 McKeithen, Majorie A (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
RETIRED 3/31/99 $1,000 Treen, David C (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE 8/20/96 $500 Linder, William H (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH GOVT/PARISH PRES 2/21/08 $200 Vitter, David (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH/PRESIDENT 9/5/08 $1,700 Landrieu, Mary L (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH/PRESIDENT 9/5/08 $1,300 Landrieu, Mary L (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE LEASING 10/25/02 $1,000 Landrieu, Mary L (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
RETIRED 5/24/99 $1,000 Treen, David C (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE LEASING/PRESIDENT 4/10/08 $1,000 Melancon, Charles (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE LEASING/PRESIDENT 8/4/05 $1,000 Melancon, Charles (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE LEASING/PRESIDENT 3/22/06 $1,000 Melancon, Charles (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE LEASING/PRESIDENT 8/26/07 $1,000 Landrieu, Mary L (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
GENERAL MARINE LEASING/PRESIDENT 8/4/06 $900 Melancon, Charles (D)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H
NEW ORLEANS,LA 70174
GENERAL MARINE LEASING 9/18/96 $500 Slatten, Jim (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H MR
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
EMPLOYEE 9/8/06 $1,000 Romero, Craig F (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM H MR
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037
PLAQUEMINES PARISH/PARISH PRESIDENT 2/11/11 $500 Cao, Joseph (R)
NUNGESSER, WILLIAM HAROLD
PORT SULPHUR,LA 70083
PLAQUEMINE’S PARISH/PRESIDENT 2/21/11 $2,400 Landry, Jeffrey M (R)
NUNGESSER, WM MR
NEW ORLEANS,LA 70130
REP PARTY OF LA 9/4/90 $500 Holloway, Clyde Cecil (R)

Obviously, there are a lot more Republicans getting donations than Democrats. The donation to Boxer doesn’t show up in that search, though obviously the Dardenne camp found it somewhere.

Dardenne’s OpenSecrets.org search turns up a lot less money going out and a perhaps “cleaner” record seeing as though he’s never given money to Democrats…

DARDENNE, JAY
BATON ROUGE,LA 70808
STATE OF LOUISIANA 10/18/00 $250 Republican Party of Louisiana (R)
DARDENNE, JOHN
BATON ROUGE,LA 70809
SELF EMPLOYED/ATTORNEY 9/7/04 $500 Republican Party of Louisiana (R)
DARDENNE, JOHN L
BATON ROUGE,LA 70809
KENNON ODOM & DARDENNE/ATTORNEY 2/20/02 $250 Barham, Robert J (R)
DARDENNE, JOHN L
BATON ROUGE,LA 70809
KENNON ODOM & DARDENNE/ATTORNEY 8/26/02 $250 Barham, Robert J (R)
DARDENNE, JOHN L HON
BATON ROUGE,LA 70809
6/1/05 $250 Romero, Craig F (R)
DARDENNE, JOHN L JR
BATON ROUGE,LA 70809
STATE OF LOUISIANA 6/21/96 $250 McMains, F Charles Jr (R)

If you’re Dardenne you can look at these two donor records and ask why anybody is giving him a hard time about not being sufficiently conservative in comparison to Nungesser. Checks to Mitch and Mary and Charlie-Boy look a heck of a lot more RINO-esque than a few squishy votes in the state Senate when Mike Foster was the governor, so this is obviously an effort to seize the high ground on the Right. And in that respect the ad is a decent example of taking what’s available and using it.

But perhaps a valid retort could be made that Nungesser’s federal political donations, while perhaps a barometer of where one falls on the ideological spectrum, aren’t exactly relevant to the Lt. Governor’s race. And that question is one of the more interesting ones as the campaign takes shape.

After all, Nungesser hasn’t exactly restricted himself to the stated duties of the office he’s running for – as evidenced by the fact that of the five-point plan he put forth as a basis for his campaign the first four included…

  • Ensuring that the BP money is used to restore those affected by the oil spill.
  • Making sure the federal government expedites the permitting process and the EPA allows for a five year permit so the oil and gas industry – the backbone of Louisiana’s economy – is never shut down again and we can act responsibly to restore our coasts.
  • Protecting taxpayers so we can streamline government and reduce its costs to allow for true reform within our tax system.
  • Working to recruit new business and industry to Louisiana to create jobs and put people back to work.

That’s a pretty broad agenda, and it frames the campaign as being one for Bobby Jindal’s successor as governor rather than a rather unsung second-chair position in charge of culture and tourism as Dardenne has made a point of defining the office.

The ad seems like it attacks Nungesser on those broad lines he’s laid out. And in that respect it’s a good one. But does this mean Dardenne is going to engage Billy on that turf throughout the campaign?

If so, it’s an interesting development. Nungesser isn’t exactly the guy from Central Casting as the state’s ambassador; he’s the fat yat who dog-cusses the Coast Guard on TV. But Billy makes things happen and he’s a leader with charisma. Folks will vote for him if they have a reason to do it. So by opening things up to all kinds of issues that don’t specifically matter in the Lt. Governor’s race, like whether Billy gave money to Barbara Boxer, Dardenne is risking letting Nungesser out of the “bad fit for the Lt. Gov. job” box he might be able to keep him in.

Will Billy have a response to this one? Will the campaign evolve as a question of who’s a better governor-in-waiting rather than who can run culture and tourism?

Stay tuned. It’s just getting started.

UPDATE: A second search on Open Secrets finds this…

NUNGESSER, WILLIAM
BELLE CHASSE,LA 70037PLAQUEMINES PARISH GOVERNMENT/PLAQU6/13/2009$2,400Boxer, Barbara

So he gave a max donation to Boxer when Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina were all at least contemplating running against her. Wow.

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