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Two great tastes that go great together...


"One of these days the people of Louisiana are going to get good government -- and they aren't going to like it." -- Huey P. Long

Louisiana is a state that proudly does stuff different from everywhere else, what with their parishes instead of counties, and their Napoleonic Code that Marlon Brando muttered about all through Streetcar Named Desire, and their economy based on both the exchange of plastic beads for flashes of boobies, or large amounts of petrodollars for political favors (only one of these exploitative transactions ever shows up in amateur porn videos). So it only stands to reason that when it comes to electing people to the United States Senate, Louisiana does stuff all weird, too. Not only does the state have one of those weirdass "nonpartisan blanket primary" things where everybody runs all together and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the general election; Louisiana doesn't actually bother with the "primary" part, so there will be two dozen candidates on the general election ballot November 8. If nobody gets over 50% of the vote (and nobody will), then the top two candidates will compete in a runoff election on December 10. The 2016 field of candidates is particularly full of loonies seeking to fill the seat of David Vitter, who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year and kept his promise not to run for reelection to the Senate, giving him more integrity than Marco Rubio on exactly one issue. (Yes, of course Louisiana elects its governors in odd years -- though frankly, it's hard to imagine 2016 being any odder.)

Louisiana Democrats have dreamily looked at last year's election of John Bel Edwards as governor and hoped they might pull off another miraculous election of a Democrat in Louisiana, but they forget that, sadly, there's no loathsome David Vitter to run against this time around. Which is not to say there's nobody loathsome in the field of candidates, which after all includes David Goddamn Duke, but his usefulness as a foil for a Dem is limited since there are so many non-KKK folks also running this time.

According to the Times-Picayune (everything in Louisiana is quaint, dammit), there are two major Democrats in the race. Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell was endorsed by Gov. Edwards, who also handed Campbell several key members of his winning gubernatorial campaign staff. He's from northern Louisiana and served seven terms in the state Senate, before getting elected to the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities and such, and is one of those state bodies that often ends up being a launching point for higher office, as we understand happens in weirdass southern states (Huey Long got his start on the LPSC). Maybe one of our readers can 'splain that for us. Campbell's "about" webpage says he "led ethics reform efforts to prohibit wining and dining of commissioners and Commission staff by utilities," so there's your reformer cred. He also did a solid for victims of domestic violence by passing a measure to waive their utility deposits, making getting into a safe new place a bit easier. That's actually a pretty neat idea! He's worked to reduce the cost of outgoing phone calls from Louisiana jails and prisons, which his campaign rightly describes as "fighting for the ultimate voice-less constituency, inmates and their families." Campbell calls attention to his fights against the death grip the oil and gas industry has on Louisiana politics, leaving it to us to read between the lines and realize those were mostly losing battles. We did mention this is Louisiana, right? We're also rather charmed by this heading and text, which subtly subverts what you might expect from a Bible Belt politician:

CHRISTIAN VALUES

Campbell is a husband, father and grandfather. He believes elected officials should serve the voiceless and powerless rather than big business and special interests. A man of faith, he feels called to work to ensure that everyone has the same chance to succeed.

Wait, you mean Christian Values can mean something other than code for keeping the gays down? Nicely played, sir.

Your other leading Democrat is New Orleans attorney Caroline Fayard, who has the endorsement of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Fayard hasn't held office, but got 43 percent of the vote in the 2010 runoff for Lieutenant Governor; she's lawyered at Goldman Sachs and in private practice in New Orleans. She was talked about as a possible Democratic opponent to Bobby Jindal or candidate for Secretary of State in 2011, but decided not to run; much of her practice has involved representing plaintiffs against BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Fayard's "Issues" webpage highlights pushing for a living wage, pay equity for women (including a pledge to "donate 35 cents of every dollar" of her Senate salary "to Louisiana-based women’s charities until the pay equity act is passed"), and calling for Louisiana's energy sector to diversify away from fossil fuels.

On energy and environment, we like 'em both -- Fayard and Campbell are both committed to coastline restoration and moving away from fossil fuels, which makes them right on science but likely long shots in the election, given the influence of the gas and oil industries. You'd think taking a position in favor of keeping Louisiana above sea level would be more of a political benefit, huh? Of the two, only Campbell agrees with mainstream science that humans are causing climate change, while Fayard goes with the cowardly "I'm not a scientist" cop-out -- but supports energy diversification anyway.

There are also a few less-likely Democrats running, the usual assortment of business people and "perennial candidate" oddballs who don't strike us as interesting enough to bother mentioning. Plus, there's feminist comedian Kaitlin Marone, who's running because "no one in this election is even saying they're pro-choice. I'm pro-choice. Someone has to be." True enough -- while both Fayard and Campbell have sections on their websites highlighting their commitment to women's issues, neither mentions choice -- and in fact both oppose abortion, which is a big disappointment. Marone happily admits she won't win, so her "Platform" page cheerfully calls for paying women more than men, requiring cops to get therapy so they're not so scared of citizens that they feel the need to kill them so often, and taking guns away from psychopaths who fantasize about being caught in a mass shooting so they can take down a bad guy. We like the cut of her jib.

Then there are the Republicans. The three frontrunners are State Treasurer John Kennedy and two current congresscritters, Charles Boustany and John Fleming. Yes, there's also David Duke, but fuck him, he's not going to win and everyone already knows he's a shitheaded racist who thinks Donald Trump's popularity will rub off on him. If racist fuckstains across the internet could all register in Louisiana, maybe he'd have a chance, but a September poll placed him seventh among all the Louisiana Senate candidates, with only 3.1 percent support. He'll get attention because he's David Goddamned Duke, but that's about it.

John Kennedy is a former Democrat who joined the R's in 2007; he's your bog-standard conservative who opposes abortion and supports "traditional marriage" (too late, sorry), wants to drill baby drill, and believes that incentives for electric cars are a hidden tax increase on normal people. And he'd like to see the death penalty for child molesters, so there's your tough on crime guy. On climate, he thinks the Earth is getting warmer but isn't willing to guess why, because how can science figure anything out anyway in an oil state?

“The problem has to be addressed with market-based solutions rather than government,” Kennedy said, adding, “I support energy conservation, nuclear energy and encouraging technology to burn clean burning coal. I don’t support a cap and trade policy. I don’t support an energy tax. If it’s such a swell idea, let China go first.”

Needless to say, the dipshit is unaware that China actually has committed to steep cuts in CO2 emissions. A year ago.

Charles Boustany is a boring doctor who in 2009 gave the official Republican response to Barack Obama's big speech outlining the Affordable Care Act, a job completely obviated when dumbass Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" during Obama's actual speech, thus saving Boustany the effort. He doubts climate change is causing Louisiana coastline to disappear, possibly blaming underpants gnomes. Most juicily, and just in time for Cocktober, a newly published book, Murder in the Bayou, accuses Boustany of having been a client of several prostitutes who were later murdered by a serial killer, in the aforementioned bayou. Investigative journalist Ethan Brown

cites three anonymous sources claiming Republican Rep. Charles Boustany was a “client” of some of the murdered sex workers known as the “Jeff Davis 8.” The book also reveals that the motel where some of the victims did their sex work was run by Martin Guillory, a field representative for Boustany who goes by the nickname “Big G.”

Boustany denies the allegations, but is also good and mad at Kennedy for making them a campaign issue, as if they wouldn't be anyway. According to Kennedy,

the accusations go to Boustany’s character and in a campaign for the U.S. Senate such questions are reasonable. “He’s saying I can’t talk about the issue that goes directly to his character? Of course I can talk about the issue, everybody is talking about this issue,” he said.

“The most prestigious publisher in the world has alleged that he was serviced by not one, not two, not three but four prostitutes and has cheated on his wife. He says it’s a lie. I didn’t write that. Simon and Schuster did. He needs to sue them if it’s not true,” Kennedy said.

Oh goody. Louisiana Republicans and prostitutes, only this time the prostitutes also ended up dead (to be clear, nobody is suggesting Boustany was involved in the murders). Maybe Vitter's Senate seat is cursed.

Oh, yeah, and Boustany also ran a completely bogus TV ad claiming that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "refuse to declare war on ISIS," apparently forgetting which branch of government has the power to declare war, and ignoring Obama's call for an authorization for military force against the terrorist group.

Then there's Rep. John Fleming, who you might think you've never heard of because what a boring name, but who in 2012 entered the Congressidiot Hall Of Fame when he got himself all outraged over a rerun of The Onion's infamous "Abortionplex" story, thinking it was real, and took to Facebook to tell constituents exactly how sickening it was. Fleming's post went undeleted long enough to make it to the invaluable website "Literally Unbelievable," which collects messages from people who still haven't heard of The Onion:

Fleming is also a doctor, Crom help his patients, as well as a multimillionaire who can't afford to pay taxes, a Reefer Madness victim who's convinced marijuana is a dangerous "gateway drug," and a fucking douchebag who insisted in 2012 that a Muslim couple was kicked out of one of his Subway franchises not for looking all Muslim, but for being in the restroom too long. Needless to say, this genius is an enthusiastic Donald Trump supporter.

There are also a bunch of other also-rans, including two libertarians, some independents, and for all we know an actual oil-soaked pelican running for the Senate, hoping for a sympathy vote. While most ratings still predict the R's will hold on to Vitter's Senate seat -- presumably after a good disinfecting -- USA Today ran a piece last week citing several Louisiana political experts who said that with 24 candidates running, and in an election year this deeply weird, anything's possible. Also, let us note once more, it's freaking Louisiana.

We'll be sure to let you know on November 9 who the two real candidates will be.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: We originally misspelled Kaitlin Marone's name (twice!) in the original article. This has been corrected, and we feel pretty silly, having a last name with an uncommon spelling ourselves! Wonkette regrets the error, doubly.

Want to support one of the non-choice-supporting Dems hoping to make it into the runoff? It's your damn money. Caroline Fayard's Act Blue donation page is here, and Foster Campbell's ActBlue donation page is here. Or you could throw some money at an actual pro-choice blogger, Yr Doktor Zoom, who is now just SIX races away from profiling all 34 of 2016's U.S. Senate races. Our tip jar is here, and it loves you very much. Kaitlin Marone is enough of a realist that she doesn't even have a donations page, but you can send her a message through her website.

[NOLA.com / Louisiana Sierra Club / NOLA.com / Baton Rouge Advocate / USA Today / NOLA.com / Baton Rouge Advocate / The Hayride / Literally Unbelievable via Atlantic / National Review / FactCheck.org]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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