Mon, 18 Sep 2006 20:31:35

Thus far the campaign for Louisiana’s Second Congressional District has been a real snoozer. I *wish* that the dozen candidates who have filed against Dollar Bill were really giving him the dozens but so far they’ve been flying below radar. None of the supposed major candidates Karen Carter Troy Carter Derrick Shepherd Joe Lavigne or Regina Bartholomew has done much to distinguish themselves. Karen Carter has picked up some major endorsements: Oliver Thomas and Cynthia Hedgehog-Morrell to name a few. Joe Lavigne got into trouble with some local Repubs with his ads blasting President Beavis but he’s a non-factor in the long run anyway: the chances that the Second District will send a white Republican to Congress are slim and none. I’m listing Lavigne as a “major candidate” as a courtesy: I’ve met him at two events and he seems to be a nice guy. He’s also the only Republican on the ballot so he should be able to fall out of bed and get 10% of the vote in a primary. Thud.

There are two polls out as of now. The first one sounds reliable. Jeff Crouere at Bayou Buzz has reported on a poll conducted by Verne Kennedy. It confirms that Dollar Bill is in trouble: he’s running first but with only 25%; truly horrible numbers for an eight term incumbent. Karen Carter is at 14% Lavigne at 13% and Shepherd at 9%. Shepherd seems to be running as the West Bank regional candidate: he’s been endorsed by Councilman James Carter and his predecessor Jackie Clarkson.

The second poll is being touted by Joe Lavigne on his web site: it’s based on the dubious proposition that he’ll get into a run-off with Dollar Bill. The “poll” shows Dollar Bill with 31% and Lavigne at 29% with the rest undecided. It’s good for a chuckle snort snigger or cackle and that’s all. If Joe Lavingne makes a run-off against Dollar Bill I’ll eat a piece of pickled herring. That’s how confident I am that it won’t happen.

The bad news for those of us who want change is that Dollar Bill’s legal problems remain on hold because of litigation involving the search of his Congressional Office. TPM Muckraker’s Paul Kiel reported last week that Jefferson is unlikely to be indicted before Election Day:

That’s not due to weakness in the Justice Department’s case — documents from the investigation show that the government has a wealth of evidence based on surveillance an FBI informant’s taping of conversations and the testimony of two men who’ve pled guilty to bribing Jefferson. Prosecutors are reportedly very close to an indictment. Rather the case is bogged down in litigation resulting from the FBI’s raid of Jefferson’s congressional office.

 Sources close to the case tell Roll Call‘s John Bresnahan that the DoJ is unlikely to indict Jefferson without the documents seized from his office. They’re still waiting to get those. A judge ruled in July that Jefferson must see them first; he gets a chance to contest certain materials being handed over based on his constitutional privilege. At issue is whether the docs qualify as legislative materials under the Speech or Debate Clause. The whole process is likely to go on through October meaning Jefferson won’t be forced to campaign under federal indictment.”

I’m beginning to wonder if Dollar Bill decided to refuse to turn over the documents from his office in order to force the Justice Department’s hand. Dollar Bill is as crafty as he is crooked so it’s not a stretch to believe that he anticipated how much shit would hit the fan after a search. It also allows him to campaign as a martyr at the hands of Bush’s DoJ and FBI. It’s not a bad campaign strategy but it’s a lousy legal strategy where he’ll be tried: Northern Virginia land of civil servants and retired military officers.

Now that a pre-election indictment is out I think that Dollar Bill will be able to ooze back into office unless his opponents stop sparring and start punching in earnest. I hope that I’m wrong but the real race is probably for second place. It should be very interesting whatever happens.


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