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New Orleans mayor crosses party lines, endorses Jindal
Staff Reports
Posted on November 4, 2003

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin crossed party lines Monday and endorsed Republican Bobby Jindal for governor.

"Bobby Jindal understands that all of Louisiana benefits from and needs a strong New Orleans," Nagin said. With Jindal as governor, "New Orleans and the rest of the state will be partners, not adversaries - which is critical because we can only move this state forward together."

Pollster Verne Kennedy surveyed voters on the possible impact of Nagin's endorsement of Jindal prior to its announcement.

"It will be a positive among white voters in the New Orleans area, but a negative among North Louisiana whites," Kennedy said. "North Louisiana doesn't know Nagin. They think of him as just another black New Orleans mayor."

Nagin was the highly-paid regional head of Cox Cable prior to his 2002 election as mayor with 87 percent of the white vote. In the primary, he endorsed Randy Ewing but Ewing ran fifth in Orleans Parish.

Blanco complains Jindal broke pledge

Kathleen Blanco's campaign complained Monday that just moments after pledging not to run campaign ads that mention the opposition by name, a Bobby Jindal ad blasted her for running a negative campaign.

During a Sunday night debate, Jindal asked and Blanco agreed not to run ads criticizing each other.

He pointed out that the pledge could not go into effect immediately because each candidate already has placed ads with television stations around the state. He said it would take through Tuesday night to pull any ads that mentioned Blanco by name.

The debate ended at 8 p.m.

Blanco campaign spokesman Ed Pratt said a Jindal ad complaining that Blanco is going around the state saying bad things about him ran at 8:57 p.m. on KLFY-TV in Lafayette.

The ad has run on numerous stations in the past week. It shows Blanco talking, superimposed over numerous quotes of her statements taken from newspaper stories.

Asked during her Friday bus tour of Acadiana about her saying that Jindal is too young and inexperienced to be governor and that "the ship of state doesn't come with training wheels," Blanco said, "That's not an attack. That's just fun.

"People want to see spirit in an election," she said. "So far, it's been a boring election."

Both candidates acknowledged there's a problem with the pledge - they have no control over "third party" ads run by people not directly associated with the campaigns, such as political parties or other supporters.

Blanco's primary complaints about Jindal's campaign are that he says she is negative and that Gov. Mike Foster, who supports Jindal but is not part of his campaign organization, keeps saying negative things about her.

Jindal said he has told Foster, "If you can't say something positive, don't say anything."

Jindal, Blanco tied in latest tracking poll

Democrat Kathleen Blanco and Republican Bobby Jindal are now tied in the governor's race, according to the latest tracking polls by Verne Kennedy.

In polling through Saturday night, Blanco and Jindal both were the choice of 42 percent of the 600 Oct. 4 primary voters Kennedy's Market Research Insight surveyed.

Based on his nightly polling data, Kennedy projected the race would be 50.4 percent for Blanco and 49.6 percent for Jindal, which is a statistical tie.

As was the case when Jindal had an 11-point lead last week, voters shifted first from Jindal to undecided, Kennedy said.

"Basically, she is moving up a little bit, but the undecideds have gone up from 11 percent to 16 percent," he said. "That's the same thing that happened when they shifted from her to undecided, then to him. They are now shifting back."

Blanco is making gains among white women, Kennedy said.

Jindal has also dropped from

getting 14 percent of the black vote to 10 percent, he said.

Kennedy's poll has a 4-point margin of error. He is polling the governor's race for a group of 25 wealthy businessmen who included contributors for both Jindal and Blanco. He shares his information with both camps.

"I think the real campaign is just starting, because she's on the air," Kennedy said. "She was basically dark for almost three weeks. It's never good for a campaign to do that."

Jindal's runoff television campaign began immediately after the primary. "For more than two and a half weeks, he had the playing field to himself, and he did move," Kennedy said.

"She now has her campaign moving and it is back to a very close race," Kennedy said.

Blanco said the poll indicates "my campaign is generating excitement across the state."

District attorney endorses Blanco

Democratic candidate Kathleen Blanco got more than a flu shot Monday when she visited New Orleans' charity hospital.

She got the endorsements of Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan and Jefferson Parish President-elect Aaron Broussard, which she hopes will be a shot in the arm for her campaign.

While at the hospital, Blanco spoke on the state's health care worker shortage.

Blanco expects to receive more endorsements today from Democrats who have been elected to statewide offices.

Scheduled to announce their support are Lt. Gov.-elect Mitch Landrieu, Attorney General Richard Ieyoub, Attorney General-elect Charles Foti, Treasurer John Kennedy and Agriculture Commissioner Bob Odom.

Wooley gets Shehee's vote of support

Former state Senator Virginia Shehee of Shreveport Monday endorsed Robert Wooley for commissioner of insurance.

Wooley faces former Legislative Auditor Dan Kyle in the Nov. 15 runoff election.

Shehee is president and chief executive officer of Kilpatrick Life Insurance and Rose-Neath Funeral Homes and Cemeteries Inc.

Shehee announced the endorsement during a press conference in Shreveport, praising Wooley's work on a catastrophic insurance pool for hurricanes or other natural disasters. Wooley has been acting insurance commissioner since former commissioner Jim Brown was convicted of perjury more than two years ago.

"He's shaped up the Insurance Department better than I've seen in 50 years," Shehee said. "I don't see any point in changing horses."

LABI affiliate issues endorsements

NORTHPAC, a political action committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, is endorsing Mike Powell for election to House District 6 in Shreveport. The board "agreed that Mike Powell's support for business issues most closely parallels the goals of the business organization," said Ginger Sawyer, executive director of NORTHPAC.

The group also endorsed Theron Jackson for Senate District 39 in Caddo Parish.

"We believe that Theron Jackson's background and previous business experience make him uniquely qualified to serve in this position," Sawyer said.

Compiled by John Hill, Mike Hasten, Melody Brumble and Michelle Mahfoufi.

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