There are a number of Louisiana legislative seats coming open in the spring due to various forms of attrition, and some of those seats have already drawn candidates far enough along to pick up key endorsements.
In the last few days, two of those candidates picked up the endorsement of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. Blake Miguez, who we’ve mentioned before here on the Hayride for his having appeared on the History Channel’s Top Shot All-Stars program – he’s a champion target shooter who played a key role in helping pass the 2012 constitutional amendment imposing strict judicial scrutiny on gun control legislation in Louisiana – has entered the race for Simone Champagne’s District 49 seat, and Miguez picked up the endorsement of WESTPAC, the regional political action committee of LABI’s members in the southwestern part of the state.
“Residents of House District 49 are very fortunate to have Blake Miguez step up to fill the recently vacated House District 49 seat. Miguez’s business background and conservative principles will represent the district admirably,” WESTPAC Chairman Charles Trent said.
“We believe Miguez has the ability to not just represent House District 49 well, but will be a leader for the business community,” Brian Landry, executive director of WESTPAC, said.
“As a business owner myself and member of LABI, I understand that creating the type of state where new businesses can relocate and existing ones can thrive is critical to creating good paying jobs for Louisiana families. I’m honored that WESTPAC supports my efforts to bring conservative solutions to Baton Rouge,” Miguez said.
The District 49 seat is coming open because Champagne is leaving to take a job as the chief administrative officer for the city of Youngsville. Champagne was known as a rock-solid conservative vote, so Miguez, an Iberia Parish resident, will have some significant shoes to fill. Obviously, the WESTPAC board think he’s up to it – thus the early endorsement. The special election for the seat is scheduled for Feb. 21.
Buddy Amoroso, who’s running picked up the endorsement of EASTPAC, the political action committee for LABI’s members in the southeastern part of the state, in his run for Hunter Greene’s District 66 seat today. Amoroso, currently a member of Baton Rouge’s Metro Council, has been a conservative activist for years in the capitol city, dating back to his time as a contributing founder of the Taxbusters movement in the 1990’s. It’s no surprise LABI’s EASTPAC group
“Residents of House District 66 are fortunate to have Buddy Amoroso running to fill the seat vacated by Hunter Greene,” Milton Graugnard, chairman of EASTPAC said. “We believe that his business background and working relationship with the district’s business community and local legislators will make him a strong voice for the business community.”
“The upcoming legislative session will need fiscal conservatives to tackle major issues impacting businesses’ bottom line, Brian Landry executive director of EASTPAC said. “We believe Buddy Amoroso has the right skillset to take on this monumental task.”
“I’m honored to have received the EASTPAC endorsement,” Amoroso said. “As a business owner I have always respected the work they do to protect companies from regulatory burdens, excessive taxes, and their commitment to sustaining a healthy economic environment.”
The District 66 seat is coming open because Greene won an election in November for Family Court judge, and it will be decided on Feb. 21 just like District 49 will. If either race doesn’t produce a candidate with a majority, the runoffs will take place March 28.
Qualifying will begin Jan. 7, so it will be some time before we’ll know the field for those two races. In District 66, there has been talk that Susan Nelson, a former East Baton Rouge School District employee and organizer with Together Baton Rouge, will be running against Amoroso – setting up a clear ideological fight in a heavily Republican district. Nelson is reported to be a Democrat, but after the Forest Wright campaign against Eric Skrmetta in PSC District 1 this fall it should be little surprise if she doesn’t run as one.
Two other House seats should be up for grabs in Feb. 21 special elections. Rep. Jeff Thompson is resigning his District 8 seat on Jan. 1 after winning an unopposed election for judge in the 26th Judicial District Court, and that’s the seat our buddy Mike Johnson, a sometime contributor to the Hayride and one of Louisiana’s premier constitutional lawyers, will be on the ballot for. Johnson has not yet received the endorsement of NORTHPAC, LABI’s North Louisiana membership PAC, and the speculation behind that delay surrounds his opposition to Common Core. It will be interesting to see how that issue plays out with respect to endorsements and/or the composition of the District 8 field.
And just today, Democrat Rep. Herbert Dixon resigned his District 26 seat for health reasons. Dixon’s seat is a relatively safe Democrat seat and will be filled by someone ideologically similar in the Feb. 21 special election.
Dixon’s resignation is interesting, in that he is the chair of the House Labor Committee, which has been a sticking point for a number of bills the business community has wanted to pass. With his resignation, Republican Chris Broadwater is set to take over as chair of that committee and its operating philosophy is likely to change in dramatic fashion in next year’s session.