The Hayride’s Endorsement Symposium, Runoff Edition – LAGOV

Rather than offer house endorsements, we’ve got four sets of them – one from each of our most regular contributors. We did this before the Oct. 24 primary, and there was a bit more diversity of opinion – but we do offer some diversity of rationale in this set of offerings.

FOR GOVERNOR

MacAoidh: David Vitter. Never in Louisiana political history has a more accomplished public servant been made to suffer so much for a sin so long in the past as Vitter has in this race. This man has served Louisiana for more than a decade in the United States Senate, marshaling federal resources to help Louisiana back on its feet after a succession of devastating hurricanes, setting a new standard for providing constituent service, representing the policy preferences of the majority of Louisiana’s voters with verve and gusto, calling out and combating the Washington elite virtually alone before the arrival of reinforcements like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and a few others and speaking without fear when Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s disengaged Republican governor, opted to abandon his charge of conservative reform.

All of these are things we say we want in our public officials, and Vitter has given them to us.

He is the most accomplished, credible conservative ever to present himself for election as Louisiana’s governor, at a time when the state is deep red and getting redder, and because of a 15-year old mid-life crisis which set him loose from his moral foundation and put him outside the borders of his marital obligations, a failing for which his family has forgiven him and to which there has been no relapse, we are to reject him?

Nonsense.

David Vitter might not be a perfect man, and he might not have run a perfect campaign. His Together, Louisiana Strong reform plan is a collection of the best conservative reform ideas ever presented to the people of Louisiana by someone with the experience and talent to actually accomplish a large portion of them, and ideally we would have liked to see it get a much larger airing in this race. Perhaps that wasn’t possible given the withering attacks thrown his way by the Louisiana Democrat Party and its well-heeled constituencies in the trial bar and the union elite, and, sadly, a pair of careerist “Republicans” who since the primary have shown precisely why they couldn’t capture pluralities of Louisiana’s 58 percent or so Republican voters.

But Vitter is the man for this job. And certainly he is that man if the alternative is John Bel Edwards, a man so bereft of legislative accomplishment that his signature achievement in this year’s legislative session was the passage of a resolution making May 4-8 “Teacher Appreciation Week” at the Louisiana State Capitol. Edwards understandably hasn’t run on his meager record as a legislator, and he hasn’t run on the issues at all. He’s run on what a terrible human being David Vitter is.

We’re tired of seeing Democrats, whose entire ideological foundation is based on robbing you of your money and your freedom, demonizing people who oppose that philosophy. The race is tightening, and quickly. Your vote matters. Make it for Vitter.

Kevin Boyd: David Vitter. Vitter is the only conservative that ran for governor this cycle, for that reason alone he deserves our support. His opponents have sought to make an issue prostitution allegations from 15 years ago, but that dog just doesn’t hunt. John Bel Edwards is a socialist union shill who will destroy the progress that has been made over the past 20 years by both Republican and Democrat governors in reforming Louisiana. We just cannot afford four years of Edwards, combined with a faux conservative legislature.

John Binder: David Vitter. I previously endorsed Sen. Vitter in the primary gubernatorial election and for one specific reason: He is the epitome of the anti-DC politician.

Like I’ve said before, Vitter is arguably the most punk rock Republican in the US Senate. He’s not a Washington DC elitist and he doesn’t care what will make the elite happy.

The democrats can’t stand him because he’s adamantly opposed to their liberal ideology. The GOP establishment and their staffs find him to be a nuisance because he wants to strip congress and their congressional staffers of their lucrative Obamacare exemptions.

The trial lawyers oppose him because he plans to push tort reform as governor, keeping attorneys from getting rich off the backs of taxpayers. (State Rep. John Bel Edwards’ (D-Amite) campaign has been largely funded by trial lawyers who fear a Vitter governorship)

The media bashes him every chance they get because he’s an unapologetic conservative, unwilling to abide by their liberal narratives. And the rich billionaires don’t back him because he’s one of the staunchest critics in the country against illegal immigration.

Vitter is anti-Washington.

At the same time, he has been wildly successful working with notorious liberals like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on bipartisan legislation in the Senate.

He’s the ultimate Washington renegade.

All of this aside, there are only two issues that voters should be focused on in this election: Illegal immigration and the Syrian refugee crisis.

Illegal immigration decides everything else in Louisiana. It decides if citizens get jobs. Whether schools have enough money to function. Whether young people will have jobs waiting for them out of college. Whether the minimum wage rises on its own. Whether crime rates go down instead of rising. It is the only issue that truly matters.

And on illegal immigration, Vitter has been phenomenal. He strongly opposed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) amnesty legislation because it would have done nothing to secure the border, while legalizing more than 11 million illegal immigrants.

He even authored his own legislation which would have cut out a loophole which allows illegal immigrants to obtain in-state tuition. Vitter understands that illegal immigration hurts the working class the most and helps the uber rich because they get cheap labor in the process.

And before any other Republican even mentioned it, Vitter was calling on the ridiculous “birth-right citizenship” policy to end because he sees it as a way for illegal immigrants to run across the border, have a baby and then now be anchored here, all at the expense of the American taxpayer.

On the Syrian refugee crisis, Vitter has been strong in his stance against bringing refugees into the state during a time where terror organizations are actively trying to infiltrate the country.

Edwards was for the Syrian refugees resettling in Louisiana before he was against it. Edwards even said he would help “accommodate” refugees and have “conversations” with Pres. Obama about the issue.

But, that’s the problem. We don’t need any conversations with Obama. We need a guy who is going to represent the state with a strong tone against the Obama administration when it comes to the federal government resettling refugees in Louisiana without notifying state officials first.

Vitter can be that guy. He’s dealt with the wrath of the DC elite for years. He’s dealt with the media trashing his every word. He’s dealt with Democrats like Edwards calling him every name in the book because he dare take a stance against illegal immigration and Syrian refugees resettling in the state.

Vitter is not beholden to the donor class. He is not beholden to the atrocious public sector unions (like John Bel Edwards) who only care about having their salaries raised and their precious public pensions protected. He is not beholden to the Louisiana Democratic Party which has done everything it can to ignore illegal immigration and support Obama on the Syrian refugee crisis.

We don’t need a prop for the Louisiana Democratic Party to push their agenda on the state. That’s what we will get with a Governor Edwards.

We need a governor who’s unwilling to back down to the ever intrusive federal government. That’s what we’ve gotten with Sen. Vitter and that’s what we’ll get with Governor Vitter.

Joe Cunningham: Not Edwards. So, on Saturday, I’ll be in Natchitoches, chaperoning a school group that will be touring the area as part of a statewide STEM tour. As I type this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in New Orleans, listening to some of the kids from the group talking very loudly. In all likelihood, I’ll take breaks in writing this column in order to go tell them to calm down.

It will be weird coming to Natchitoches as a tourist and not as a returning as someone visiting my hometown and my family. I will be visiting the places I went to on field trips as a kid: the Fish Hatchery, Melrose Plantation, and Ft. St. Jean Baptiste. I’ll be, God help us all, in charge of kids. How messed up is that?!

The school I teach at in south Louisiana is a STEM magnet school. It is part of Lafayette’s Schools of Choice program, where schools have specialized pathways that students can attend, even if the school is not their base school. It is based on a lottery system, and our school in particular is growing like crazy because it’s not just a school with career pathways, but it’s a magnet school.

It is the very embodiment of one of the many ways we in Louisiana can promote school choice.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to vote for David Vitter, that David Vitter is the best choice for Louisiana, that David Vitter is the only way to save Louisiana. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to overlook his past indiscretions. That is going to be a monumental task for a lot of you.

But, I am going to ask you to take a look at our children. The ones in school. The ones who could use something better. There are not enough secondary schools in Natchitoches to create the same system we have here in Lafayette, but there are things that can be done to allow for school choice. If a school is failing your child (and yes, even as a teacher, I believe that it is very much possible for a school to do harm to your child’s education), you as a parent deserve a right to place them somewhere else where they can learn.

John Bel Edwards hates school choice.

He uses the fact that his wife is a public school teacher to tout how much he respects education. It’s an obvious play against Bobby Jindal, who is still greatly disliked for his education policies. But, Edwards has taken a ton of money from teachers’ unions, who are (as organizations) very much against the idea of school choice. They want the power to remain in the hands of teachers, and not in the hands of parents.

He has written anti-school choice legislation. He is going to implement education policies that will hurt your child’s chance to get a good education.

I’m not going to tell you to vote for David Vitter on Saturday. But, I beg of you, do not vote for John Bel Edwards.



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