BAYHAM: Foster Campbell Sure Is Rich

Foster Campbell is questioning John Kennedy’s conservative credentials and his altruism as a candidate?

Really.

Campbell is the same candidate who adamantly refused to admit whom he voted for president.

A fellow Democratic huckster tried that tactic in Kentucky in 2014 and it did not work out well for her and hopefully it will have the same result here.

Kennedy has a huge lead in polls and all other indicators and is shrewdly sticking to his campaign narrative, which hasn’t budged throughout his candidacy. Kennedy is the same candidate in the runoff as he was when he announced for US Senator.

Kennedy is focused on turning out the same vote that gave Donald Trump a “yuge” win in Louisiana and is largely ignoring Campbell’s last ditch tactic.

However in the event some folks are buying what Campbell’s desperately selling, I’d like to offer some personal perspective.

In 1999 I worked on Kennedy’s bid for State Treasurer. The race was between two Democrats though had a Republican, even a token “ballot squatter” had qualified, I had informed Kennedy I would have to back away, which he understood.

The political scene in Louisiana then was a different place than today.

Republicans held just two of the eight statewide offices, governor (Mike Foster) and secretary of state (Fox McKeithen). Both had switched to the GOP after they had been elected to public office and in the case of Foster, the very day he qualified for governor (Foster had actually spent more time running as a Democrat than as a Republican).

In fact up until Suzie Terrell won Elections Commissioner in the 1999 runoff, every statewide elected Republican official had previously held public office as a Democrat (Dave Treen excepted).

However even in a race between two D’s, there was no question that the former Revenue Secretary had positioned himself as the conservative and reform candidate in the race.
Furthermore, Kennedy made a point of emphasizing that his opponent was going to be Al Gore’s state campaign chairman in Louisiana in 2000.

Kennedy unseated the incumbent Democratic treasurer largely due to strong support from Republican voters, carrying the GOP bailiwicks of Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes. The state Republican Party chairman had told me he was supporting Kennedy’s candidacy.

As Kennedy’s opponent was part of the Louisiana Democratic establishment, the new state treasurer was hardly welcomed with open arms. Kennedy had reformist instincts that often contrasted with his party’s courthouse “good ole boy” mindset.

His departure from the Democrats to the GOP was only a matter of time and Kennedy personally called to let me know he was switching parties the morning he filled out the paperwork.
After becoming a Republican, Kennedy ran against Mary Landrieu, the bete noir of the GOP, for the US Senate. Kennedy was considered the strongest possible candidate the Republicans could field and had been heavily recruited by the White House to make the race. Kennedy worked hard though came up short.

I don’t recall Mr. Campbell coming out against Landrieu’s re-election or supporting John McCain over Barack Obama. In fact the same year Republican Kennedy was challenging Landrieu, Democrat Campbell was running for re-election to the public service commission after having finished an embarrassing fourth for governor (also as a Democrat).

While it seems it would take the jaws of life to extract from Campbell his vote for president, the Democratic US Senate candidate has not been shy about his Hollywood support or raking in cash from the other LA.

The race for US Senator is clear: you can complete the big conservative victory in November by providing President-elect Trump an ally and giving Louisiana an able advocate in Washington or send the Democrats one more obstructionist in their bid to keep the incoming Republican administration from being able to accomplish anything and elevate to high office a politician who is a relic of the bad old days of Louisiana politics.

John Kennedy will be a solid conservative vote in the US Senate, responsive to the needs of our state, and won’t become a part of the DC culture that has compromised so many Republicans sent off to the “la la land” of the east coast.

Voters should ignore the propaganda being spewed by the Democrats to depress Republican turnout, as they effectively did in last year’s gubernatorial runoff, and trust Kennedy to be the US Senator Louisiana deserves.

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