There has been a whole lot of discussion this week over this story about how a Democrat pollster and political consultant is touting the prospects of Bill Cassidy as Louisiana’s next governor. Maybe we’ll chalk that up to a slow news week in the Bayou State.
Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy would be the most formidable candidate if he decided to run for governor next year, pollster Ron Faucheux says.
“I think he is in a better position to build a bipartisan coalition than anybody,” he told the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge today. “The field he is running against is not particularly well known, and they don’t particularly have a strong base.”
Cassidy has not announced a run for governor. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has reached his two-term limit and cannot run again. Potential candidates include several other Republicans such as Attorney General Jeff Landry, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, state Treasurer John Schroder and state Sen. Rick Ward.
“If [Cassidy] could get into a runoff, I think he’d probably beat anybody in the runoff,” says Faucheux, a nonpartisan pollster and self-described political independent. “I think he’d be a stronger candidate for governor than reelection [to the Senate]. He can focus on state issues and get away from the national mess.”
OK, first of all, Ron Faucheux isn’t nonpartisan. He’s a Democrat. We don’t care what he calls himself, he was a Democrat state representative in New Orleans East from 1976-84, he ran for mayor of New Orleans in 1982 as a Democrat, he was Mary Landrieu’s chief of staff and his consulting firm, Clarus Research Group, mostly works for Democrat political candidates.
So when Ron Faucheux speaks, understand that he represents the “Bourbon Democrat” mindset. He’s the John Bel Edwards/Mitch & Mary Landrieu faction talking.
And Ron Faucheux is a political consultant who says things he gets paid to say. So when he’s talking up Bill Cassidy, it probably means Cassidy’s team’s check cleared.
That’s not intended as a shot across Faucheux’s bow. This is how the game is played. If you want to create some buzz, you hire guys like this to do it for you, and then media organs like the Baton Rouge Business Report pick up on it and make it a thing.
And maybe you can include us in that as well, since we’re now talking about it.
But the reason we’re touching on this is something which immediately came to mind when we saw this story. Namely, that Faucheux talking up Cassidy could be a signal that the JBE/Landrieu/Bourbon Democrat/Sad White Lefty faction is essentially giving up on trying to run somebody for governor in 2023.
Bear with us here and we’ll explain that.
We’ve talked a good bit about the upcoming U.S. Senate race, in which the consultants ran around the state trying to find a white Democrat to run against John Kennedy and had zero success, ultimately coming up with an alpaca-necked airline pilot with bad public speaking skills and no prior political experience. There was no interest among the few semi-marketable white Democrat politicians in the state in running against Kennedy.
It should be a little different with the 2023 gubernatorial race. There is no incumbent, as Edwards is termed out of office. There isn’t really a frontrunner – Jeff Landry is ahead on the money, but nobody can say that Landry holds a dominant lead over Billy Nungesser or John Schroder so far. Everybody knows the field is far from finished – some septuagenarian Democrat trial lawyer from Lake Charles named Hunter Lundy, who lost a congressional race to Chris John a thousand years ago and hasn’t been heard from since, is saying God called him to run for governor and is talking about putting in $2 million of his own money to run as an independent. Whether this guy Lundy becomes a real factor in the race we have no idea, but he’s an example of what promises to be a whole host of hopefuls showing up to run.
There will absolutely be a black Democrat. And there will likely be a white Democrat. The Gary Smiths, Jay Luneaus and Robby Carters of the world will probably produce a candidate.
But maybe not.
If you’ll remember, back in 2015 when people were still laughing about Edwards’ seemingly-hopeless prospects of winning, there were lots of Democrats saying it was time to make their peace with the idea a Republican was going to win and that Jay Dardenne was the guy they needed to support.
And now that Bill Cassidy has not only voted in favor of an impeachment of President Trump that he’d just voted to reject on the basis it was unconstitutional but also supported stupid things like a COVID vaccine registry and the hyper-wasteful and inflationary Biden infrastructure bill, he’s now the fantasyland favorite among the Sad White Lefty faction.
Does that mean they think they can’t sell Robby Carter? It could. Assuming a black Democrat is in the race, Robby Carter is as hopeless as Luke Mixon. Ditto for Smith or Luneau or Foster Campbell or whichever other claiming horse they might throw into the field.
So what would be at stake is getting Cassidy into the race and then cutting a deal with him not dissimilar to the one Clay Schexnayder made with the Legislative Black Caucus – Cassidy pulls votes of RINO’s and independents and some white Democrats, and that gets him into the runoff with a black Democrat, and then he runs on some sort of bipartisan unity platform which essentially means we’ll have four more years of the current awful status quo.
Mind you, we see very little possibility that this could happen. For Faucheux’s analysis to hold Cassidy would have to actually make the runoff, and we see zero evidence he can outpoll any of the three between Landry, Schroder and Nungesser. He comes in fourth among that group, and assuming there are Democrats in the race Cassidy won’t get any support from them.
People need to remember that Louisiana’s Democrats have trashed Cassidy in no uncertain terms since he took office. Or have you forgotten the loons who showed up en masse to heckle and abuse him at town hall meetings? There is no reservoir of support to be found there. And there is even less now on the Republican side. He’s the most actively hated politician in the state at present.
At the end of the day, although there have been some indications Cassidy was kicking the tires on maybe running for governor, we can’t see him doing it. That Faucheux stirred all this up is a trial balloon at best, and it says more about the other Democrats and their stand-ins than it does about Cassidy.