There Are Democrats In The Gubernatorial Race After All…

…now that one Cary Deaton, a lawyer from Metairie and a former Republican, has qualified along with Haynesville schoolteacher Tara Hollis.

There are now six candidates in the race: Gov. Bobby Jindal, running for re-election with a $9 million war chest, three independents (Ron Ceasar of Opelousas, Lenny Bollingham of Baton Rouge and Bob Lang of Natchitoches) and Deaton and Hollis.

Ceasar, Deaton and Lang are relatively frequent electoral hopefuls; Ceasar is coming off a failed attempt at getting Jindal recalled (he needed 908,000 signatures on the recall petition and actually got 55) last year and ran an only slightly more successful Congressional campaign in 1994, placing third with seven percent behind Jimmy Hayes (53 percent) and Clyde Holloway (40 percent) in a race for the 7th District seat. Lang and Deaton were both participants in last year’s U.S. Senate election, meanwhile; Deaton ran in the Democrat primary and placed third in a three-man race with 12,853 votes, good for 12 percent in a primary campaign against Charlie Melancon and Neeson Chauvin. Lang ran as an independent in the general election and tallied 5,734 votes, which placed him ninth in a 12-man race behind incumbent David Vitter.

Deaton, a former assistant district attorney in New Orleans, had also run against Vitter when the latter was elected to Congress in 2000; that year he placed third in a five-man race with 10,982 votes or five percent (Vitter had 80 percent, while Democrat Michael Armato had 13 percent). He ran for Attorney General in 1995 as a Republican against incumbent Richard Ieyoub, placing third in a four-man race with 126,778 votes (10 percent) behind Ieyoub (76 percent) and fellow Republican Ed Tarpley (10 percent).

During the Senate campaign last year, Deaton was quoted by the Times-Picayune as saying he was to the right of Melancon.

Deaton said Melancon, who describes himself as “a pro-life, pro gun” conservative Democrat, is a “little too far to the left.”

But his major criticism is of Melancon’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul. While Deaton agrees that there are flaws in the plan, he accepts the recommendation of the national president of the American Medical Association who argued the legislation, which became law March 23, will do far more good than harm, particularly by providing coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

The benefits, Deaton said, are substantial in a poor state like Louisiana, with its high percentages of uninsured adults.

Deaton, a former assistant district attorney, promises that as a senator, he will focus on producing more jobs, protecting Social Security and advocating for “pro-life positions, ” while fighting crime, reducing government spending and backing regulation of Wall Street.

Hollis, a 32-year old public school teacher from Haynesville, has emerged as the top Democrat contender in the race – though her last campaign filing showed less than $1,000 in funds on hand and a series of rookie mistakes on the campaign trail have shown she’s the longest of shots to upend Jindal. Most recently, at an appearance at UL-Lafayette professor Pearson Cross’ political science class, Hollis said “I am so for raising taxes,” among other things a political consultant would stroke out over.

Audio of that appearance can be found here.

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