From a press release the state’s Lt. Governor and candidate for Governor put out on Friday afternoon…
Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne will report having raised more than $2,200,000 towards the race for Governor when he files his year-end finance report with the Board of Ethics later today.
Dardenne closed out 2014 with just over $1,500,000 cash on hand.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received early in our campaign, with large and small contributions from all over Louisiana. I’m humbled by this outcry of support.” said Dardenne.
Ninety four percent of Dardenne’s contributions have come from Louisiana. “I’ve said before that we need a Governor focused on Louisiana solutions, not D.C. rhetoric. The fact that ninety four percent of my support comes from right here in Louisiana proves that this will be a Louisiana based campaign.”
“The next Governor must be prepared to lead from day-one. With the support of so many concerned citizens and a deep commitment for reforming our state, I stand ready to put Louisiana on a path to prosperity. I have a track record of making state government do more with less. I will bring that same attitude to the Governor’s office,” concluded Dardenne.
There was a rumor last week to the effect that Dardenne would vacate the governor’s race and instead cool his heels for a 2016 run for mayor-president in East Baton Rouge Parish. That one didn’t seem overly realistic when we heard it, and if Dardenne is sitting on $1.5 million he’s not backing out of the governor’s race any time soon.
The dimensions of the governor’s race are problematic for Dardenne, but at the same time they’re hopeful. He has to find his way into the runoff, and to do that he needs to strip away as much of the Republican-but-not-for-David Vitter vote as possible from Scott Angelle, who is occupying the same political space he does, and then at the same time hope there are multiple Democrats in the race to split that vote up and keep the top vote-getter among the D’s below Dardenne’s number. Presenting himself to Democrat voters as an “acceptable” Republican is also a key factor for Dardenne; he would need a big Democrat backing to beat Vitter in the runoff and probably a good number of Democrat voters to secure a spot in it. Little surprise, then, that there are a few trial lawyers peppered in amongst Dardenne’s donors on his current campaign finance report.
As such, Dardenne will be a big fan of John Bel Edwards’ and at the same time he’ll root for Foster Campbell or Russell Honore’ – or both – to get into the race. When the rumors of Honore’ potentially getting in came up, the joke was that Dardenne and Angelle would get together and stake the former National Guard general with as much campaign cash as he needs. At least until Edwards got out, that is.
Nobody will have the financial resources Vitter will have in this race. But Dardenne has more than enough cash on hand to get through the early stages of the race and build support. He’s going to have to run a bit further to the left than he has run in previous statewide races, though, because Dardenne needs Democrats both to get into the runoff and to win it.