Lenar Whitney Is On The Air, And Is Making Inroads In Baton Rouge

Lenar Whitney has a new commercial spot up on the air…

Chris Comeaux, Whitney’s media consultant, says she has four spots in the can and will be on the air until Election Day just like Garret Graves, who is expected to own the airwaves, will be.

Whitney’s campaign has been best known so far for the huge vertical yard signs depicted in the spot, plus the copious dropping of direct mail. So far, she – like Graves – still seems to trail a little behind Paul Dietzel and Dan Claitor among the Republicans vying for the runoff spot opposite Edwin Edwards in the 6th District race. Depending on who you talk to, however, that still appears to be very much a four-way battle anyone can win with six weeks to go.

Graves, of the four “major” candidates in the race, has another disadvantage of sorts. Last week the East Baton Rouge Republican Parish Executive Committee had an endorsement meeting and essentially endorsed everybody but Graves…

The Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish today announced the GOP is endorsing three of the nine Republican candidates running for Congress from the Sixth Congressional District to replace Congressman Bill Cassidy, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

Receiving the party’s endorsement were Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge), Rep. Lenar Whitney (R-Houma), businessman Paul Dietzel II of Baton Rouge, according to Republican Parish chairman, former Rep. Woody Jenkins.

Jenkins said the nine Republicans are an outstanding group of candidates and that almost any of them would be preferable to the leading Democratic candidate, former Gov. Edwin Edwards.

Jenkins described the three endorsed candidates as follows:

  • “State Sen. Dan Claitor has the advantage of being a known quantity. He has six years’ experience representing South Baton Rouge in the Louisiana Senate and has a solid conservative voting record. He is an independent thinker and scrupulously honest. During this campaign, he has spoken out on national issues and appears to be even more conservative at that level. Sen. Claitor is a business owner, a skilled attorney and a true legislator who can draft a bill and carry it through the legislative process to enactment. He can be hard nosed when necessary, and we need that in Washington today.”
  • “Rep. Lenar Whitney of Houma is another proven legislator and one of the most conservative members of the Louisiana House. She has taken a leadership role at both the state and national levels and currently serves as Republican National Committeewoman from Louisiana. As a conservative woman, a mother, and a grandmother, she can speak to many of the most important issues facing our nation and be heard as few if any men can be. She is a small business owner and a strong voice for Louisiana issues such as energy independence and sanity when it comes to environmental regulation. Her position as the only major candidate from the south part of the district gives her a geographic base.”
  • “Paul Dietzel II is perhaps the best known candidate, thanks to the reputation of his grandfather, the late LSU coach Paul Dietzel. But he is also probably the hardest working candidate, having started this race more a year and a half ago. Paul Dietzel brings youth and energy to the race, as well as new ideas. He owns a technology company and promises to bring his business acumen and tech savvy to Washington. He has staked out new issues in the campaign, including the need for America to strengthen the electrical power grid against the possibility of an Electro-Magnetic-Pulse, or EMP, attack. He is one of the best orators in the field and promises to make the race interesting.”

Endorsements by the GOP are made by the 17-member East Baton Rouge Republican Parish Executive Committee, or PEC, which is elected by the Republican voters of the parish during the Presidential Primary in March of each presidential election year. One member of the PEC is elected from each of the 12 Metro Council districts and five others are elected at-large parishwide.

The PEC has a rigorous system of evaluating Republican candidates who seek the party’s endorsement. Each candidate must submit evidence showing his U. S. citizenship, residency, and proof of degrees held and military rank achieved. The candidates are invited to speak at the Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon, answer an extensive questionnaire, and appear before the Parish Executive Committee to answer questions.

The members of the PEC vote on each of the candidates separately by secret ballot. The PEC can endorse one candidate, more than one, or none at all. In order to be endorsed, a candidate must receive the votes of a majority of the members of the PEC who are present in person or by proxy. Each of the three endorsed candidates received a majority of the votes.

Jenkins is serving a four-year term as chairman until March 2016.

One insider we talked to said the three-way endorsement, which is somewhat peculiar – a double endorsement isn’t all that unusual but a triple endorsement almost never happens and it works more as a repudiation of those not being endorsed than an actual endorsement – is tantamount to an endorsement of Whitney since an endorsement of Claitor or Dietzel would have been expected and unlike them she’s not from Baton Rouge.

The endorsement is likely to be controversial for that reason. Neither Dietzel nor Claitor can be too happy about splitting an endorsement from the PEC in Baton Rouge with each other, much less with Whitney. Whitney is likely happy to have reached into Baton Rouge with such success, though.

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