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Content for this site is produced by Gannett News Service's Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bureau, in partnership with Louisiana Gannett newspapers :
Leach paid high price to run fourth in gubernatorial primary
Posted on November 7, 2003

The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE - Democrat Claude "Buddy" Leach spent $44.43 per vote to come in fourth in the Oct. 4 gubernatorial primary, 10 times the amount spent by front-runner Bobby Jindal.

According to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday, Leach spent $8.3 million to capture 187,872 votes, or 14 percent of the total number of votes. In contrast, Republican Jindal, the primary leader who received 443,389 votes, spent close to $1.9 million on the primary or about $4.28 per voter. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the Democrat who placed second with 250,136 votes, spent about $1.89 million or $7.58 per vote.

Leach is the only candidate who virtually bankrolled his entire campaign. Altogether, the multimillionaire kicked in 97 percent of his war chest in the form of personal loans.

The only other candidate whose loans made up more than 50 percent of total funds raised was Public Service Commission Chairman Jay Blossman, who dropped out of the race Oct. 1.

In contrast, Jindal received all his money from outside sources. Blanco loaned her campaign about 10 percent of her total war chest.

Attorney General Richard Ieyoub, who finished third, spent $4.8 million and came in 30,000 votes short of fellow Blanco. Altogether, the Democrat spent $21.57 for each vote he received in the Oct. 4 primary.

Despite the flood of money, neither Ieyoub nor Leach was able to overcome the fact that they were going after the same traditional Democratic voters, particularly blacks and union members. While the two candidates took 30 percent of the overall vote, they captured a total of 73 percent of the black vote, according to research by GCR & Associates.

"In many ways, it is odd and sad for the two of them that they happened to be running against each other," said Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University.

Both Leach and Ieyoub spent millions of dollars in the last few weeks of the campaign, almost all of it on activities designed to get voters to the polls, from canvassing to operating telephone banks to printing signs and leaflets.

From Sept. 15 until Oct. 4, Leach spent $1.9 million, including $611,781 on temporary campaign workers who waved signs at intersections and went door to door. Ieyoub spent $1.3 million during the same period, including $560,084 for get-out-the-vote efforts.

Another Democratic candidate, former state Senate President Randy Ewing, spent $3.1 million, shelling out $25.05 for each of his 123,936 votes. Ewing came in fifth, ahead of state Rep. Hunt Downer, a Republican. Downer spent $1.6 million, or $19.17 per vote.

Jindal, who received 33 percent of the vote in the primary, spent $1.9 million through Oct. 4, according to his campaign reports.

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