While most of the focus on Republican-vs-Republican races in Louisiana has been on the statewide races for Lt. Governor and Secretary of State, that phenomenon is hardly restricted to the up-the-ballot contests.
In the state senate there are at least four prominent intra-GOP campaigns being waged. Senate District 13, in which incumbent Dale Erdey is catching a stiff challenge from Derek Babcock, is one of them.
The district, which is centered in Livingston Parish, appears to be animated by both social conservatism and a feeling that government is too big. Because of that, Babcock appears well-placed to give Erdey a run for his money. While Erdey’s Louisiana Family Forum rating was an 89 in 2010 (it dipped to just 67 percent this year thanks to votes against tax credits for private school tuition and tax election reform), he ranked just a 50 on LABI’s ratings this year, down from an already-suspect 59 the year before. Questions about Erdey’s conservatism on both social and economic matters have rankled the district’s heavily-conservative voters, making him ripe for a challenge.
Enter the youngish Babcock, an insurance agent (as is Erdey) and father of four who serves as Vice Chairman of the Family Forum. He’s also managed to rack up LABI’s endorsement as well as that of the Associated Building Contractors, the Baton Rouge Business Report and the Baton Rouge-based Tea Party of Louisiana. Those endorsements have allowed the challenger to raise some $40,000 in the closing days of the campaign, a decent sum for a first-time candidate. That’s nothing compared to the $80,000 Erdey has raised, and Babcock is certainly being outspent in the race. But Babcock has the benefit of that voting record to work with, and he’s definitely making use of it…
The TV spot isn’t all Babcock has going for him. There’s a mail piece out that hits the senator on contracts his company has with government entities…
Erdey says he’s not going to get into the negative stuff…
Many have asked my opinion on negative campaigning. I committed early in my campaign to stay positive, advising my family and friends to stick with the facts. My record of proven leadership with proven results will ultimately bring victory to our Team Erdey. I have always been positive and optimistic and see no reason to go negative, even in the midst of unsubstantiated, derogatory and half-truth attacks. We will “positively” win.
…except his camp has also made an issue of Babcock’s only having recently changed his voter registration to reflect residency in District 13.
Erdey has the endorsement of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s FuturePAC, the presidents of Bass Pro Shops and the Juban Crossing development, two major economic engines within the district, the National Rifle Association and the East Baton Rouge Republican PEC.