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Louisiana: Blanco Bows Out of Gov. Race

Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D-La.) announced minutes ago that she will not stand for a second term this November, stepping aside from a race that many within her party did not believe she could win.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco
Louisiania Gov. Kathleen Blanco (AP Photo)

Blanco's decision to step aside seemingly opens the door for a candidacy by former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), who has been mulling the race for weeks. Breaux had previously pledged not to run unless Blanco retired.

Breaux has reached out to Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu -- another potential gubernatorial candidate -- to sound out his interest in a race. Those close to Breaux, however, warn that he remains undecided about whether to enter the race.

"The party will rally around one candidate," predicted Donna Brazile, a political consultant and Louisiana native. "If it's Breaux, I believe Breaux can beat [Rep. Bobby] Jindal."

Jindal, who has represented the state's 1st congressional district since 2004, is widely seen as Republicans' strongest candidate. Jindal narrowly lost the 2003 gubernatorial bid to Blanco who at the time was the state's lieutenant governor. Since being elected to Congress to replace now Sen. David Vitter (R), Jindal has made clear he would seek a rematch this November.

Curt Anderson, a consultant for Jindal, said Blanco's decision changes nothing. "The Governor's departure from the race does not impact Jindal in any way," said Anderson. "He has been very straightforward from day one about the fact that he is running for Governor regardless of who else does."

Blanco's announcement is an acknowledgment of the political damage she sustained from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Although Blanco insisted the federal government was to blame for the tragically slow and inept response, she was never able to recover from the perception that she was ineffective and weak in the state's time of need.

Blanco is the third Democratic governor who will not seek re-election in 2007 and 2008. Govs. Ruth Ann Minner (Del.) and Mike Easley (N.C.) must leave office in 2008 because of term limits.

Make sure to check out the Post tomorrow morning for more details on Blanco's retirement and its impact on the Louisiana political landscape.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 20, 2007; 7:10 PM ET
Categories:  Governors  
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Comments

Reason -- the issue was what governor's mansions the GOP could pickup. That means races where they can win this cycle where there isn't currently a GOP governor. In ALL of the examples you cite (Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky), the GOP is currently in charge. Sure those will be close races, but how exactly are they "pickup" opportunities for the GOP? Answer -- they're not.

Posted by: Colin | March 22, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

You only need to examine two situations to understand what an incompetent governor Blanco has been. The Blanco Road Home Program has issued less than--cannot really say as the governor will not publish how few people have received their grants. There are over 100,000 applicants waiting. The Mississippi program had granted some $810,000,000 to date. Both of these programs are totally run by the respective states.

The special session of the legislature that she called in Nov 06 was a total disaster. No bills of substance were passed, in fact the agenda was not even published until the session began.

The State of Louisiana is better off that she has withdrawn. Maybe the next governor will bring to the state what is sorely needed, leadership.

Posted by: Billy | March 22, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Governor Blanco and Ray Nagin have done more to indicate where the blame for Katrina & Rita blame belong. Unfortunately their fingerpointing has served no useful purpose. The "Road Home" program has proven to be the "Road to Nowhere". Neither of these two has a clue, she from her innocence and he from his arrogance and inability to open his mouth without ticking somebody off. Both need to get off the pulpit and exercise some of their so-called political acumen and get the recovery effort in gear. I await the announcement of Mr. Nagin's comedy career when he announces his candidacy for higher office, (he has that much arrogance) and is noted for playing a race card when it suits him. He can't see when he's stuffing his over-sized foot in his mouth. Living in Louisiana is an adventure. Y'all come on down and enjoy the political gumbo. It's an attention getter.
Sarge

Posted by: Sarge | March 21, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Ohio Guy...you must be a Kuicinich voter. Do you honestly believe Missouri, Kentucky and Inidana will all go Democratic? Do you honestly believe La. is the Republicans only pick up hope? If you do, then your wrong.

In Ky., Anne Northup is likely to win the nomination over Fletcher, and then win the general election and keep the gov. mansion in Rep. hands. If Fletcher is the Republican nominee, the dems. then propably will pick that one up. In Indiana, Mitch Daniels is running again and is going to be pretty safe. In Mo., Matt Blunt vs. Jay Nixon, that one is going to be a very expensive, dirty and under-handed race. Propably one of the most competitive in the nation. But to say it's a walk for Nixon is just flat wrong.

Republican pick-up opportunities are Washington, with Dino Rossi,Delaware's open seat and North Carolina's open seat plus Louisiana.

Posted by: reason | March 21, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Breaux is not even a Louisiana resident as his LA voter registration was cancelled once he became a resident of Maryland. Breaux was required to secure a drivers license and establish residency prior to beign permitted to obtain a voter registraton in MD, which he did TWO YEARS AGO.

I understand that to run for Gov in LA, a five-year residency requirement, prior to the election is in the state constitution. Breaux does not meet that standard.

By the way, would Breaux testify under oath what state he pays his income taxes to? I'll bet he would say MD.

Case closed.

http://media.www.lsureveille.com/media/storage/paper868/news/2007/02/27/News/Breaux.May.Be.Ineligible.For.Governor.Race-2745237.shtml

Posted by: Rudy_Fan_Club | March 21, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Blanco had to leave the race. Her honest straitforward take responsibility apporach to government was exposing the blame everyone but those who are really responsible crowd for doing nothing to safeguard New Orleans from the impending natural disaster. The Democrat dynasty families like the Landrieus did not heed the warnings of the Times Picauyne who warned year after year for 50 years that New Orleans would soon face a flood disaster. The let them eat cake attitude of the landrieuesque rulers of New Orleans doomed New Orleans to Katrina's rath. Mayor Nagins 100's of school buses under water is the snapshot of Democrat leadership in New Orleans. The Louisiana Dems actions over the last thrity years show that they beleive the poor will always be with us. Their attitude was and is we must warehouse the poor they can not rise above their circumstance. Instead of teaching each family to fish the dems prefer to distribute one fish each day and keep the poor available in easy to reach loacations to load into buses for election day when they ivers, the Louisiana dems. The dems believe in warehousing the poor and trotting them out for election day and then back to the warehouse the next day. One reason they are going after Attorney General Gonzales is they are upset that a hispanic has a real position of power and influence in the administration. They feel Hispanics and blacks should stay on the Democrat planations. The Dems don't like those whom they consider uppity black folk like Condeleeza Rice and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who have dared to work across party lines. Harry Reid , Mary Landrieu and friends have squandered their politcal capital by launching witch hunts instead of actually working in Congress to create solutions to America's most pressing problems.

Mike

Posted by: Mike in Reno | March 21, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

' There is a large group of republican good old boys in the high country that I think would rather vote for a white democrat then a foreign-looking Republican.'

I think you nailed it, andy.

Posted by: drindl | March 21, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

North Carolinian, I have no doubt that you are right in your assesment of Blanco's role during the Hurricane. However, politics is about perception, and the people of Louisiana perceived that Blanco didn't do a good job.

I have always thought that Jindal was over-rated as a candidate. When Bush's aprroval rate was in the high 70's then everyone thought Jindal was the golden boy, but now that Bush is mired in the 30's Jindal loses alot of his luster. Also I am not so sure that the loss of a large group of black voters in the state is a huge problem for Breaux. There is a large group of republican good old boys in the high country that I think would rather vote for a white democrat then a foreign-looking Republican.

Posted by: Andy R | March 21, 2007 8:07 AM | Report abuse

This is probably only the second time I've ever commented on here, but this situation warrants it.

I'm deeply disappointed she chose to not run again. I have read countless articles and books about what happened and I truly believe she tried as hard as she could to figure this thing out.

No public servant has ever been faced with such an incredible situation (save for Guiliani, and even 9/11 was concentrated in one area). She should have been meet with cooperation and every account I've read shows that she begged and pleaded for such. There is no book or set of plays she could have followed to make this thing right.

Like her or not she got dealt a bad hand and has sincerely tried her hardest. If any blame is to be placed in this, it belongs on the decisions of the Corps of Engineers decades ago to not spend enough a truly build levees correctly. It also belongs squarely on development in such a fragile environment. No industry - fishing, oil, sugar - all vital to that region - is served by the overdevelopment on the soft marshes of that region.

I encourage everybody to go out and read a copy of "The Storm" which provides an excellent account of where the problems occurred.

But as for this topic, I salute Governor Blanco for her tireless efforts. Each of you willing to cast stones ought to thank God you were not put in her shoes to try and figure this whole thing out.

Posted by: North Carolinian | March 21, 2007 2:02 AM | Report abuse

"Sorry, but Jindal is the favorite in a Breaux -Jindal race. Did you guys forget that Hurricane Katrina displaced a significant portion of the Democratic electorate? Plus Jindal barely lost last time. Breaux's making lots of money as a lobbyist...he should stay out."

Dead wrong analysis. Breaux is the most popular politcian in the state hands down - he was elected statewide 3 times as a Senator - Jindal has never been elected statewide once. You must not know that Breaux was also very popular among moderates, independents and even republicans, so the fact that many Democrats were forced from LA will likely not matter. Even Bob Novak states in his column that Breaux would be "heavily favored" in a contest against Jindal. He has far and away more experience, more fundraising potential, and broader appeal. Jindal makes it close at best. Breaux has demigod status in LA.

Posted by: Ohio guy | March 21, 2007 1:41 AM | Report abuse

It's early in the game still. Chris, let's imagine a candidate coming from out of nowhere with one platform: end globalization. End the outsourcing of jobs by using tax and customs laws to make it prohibitively expensive for companies practicing this to sell their goods and service back into the U.S. End H1B, L1 and similar visa's. Get out of NAFTA. Round up and deport every illegal immigrant and fine anyone employing one in the future - $10,000 a day per worker sounds about right. What do you think would happen? That candidate would take at least 1/3 of the votes in this country. Such a candidate, unless they were a complete whack job otherwise, would throw the next election into chaos for the Republicans and the Democrats. Polls show that close to 70% of the American people ar completely in agreement with position. It's even slightly higher for likely voters! I think, before this election is over, any candidate with any chance for the White House will be forced to accept this as a reality. "You can have Bill Gate's money or you can have my vote, you cannot have both." This, even more than Iraq, will be the #1 issue.

Posted by: MikeB | March 21, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

All Breaux has to do is remind the electorate... "You're doing a heck of a job Brownie."

No matter how they want to shift the blame, it was the clueless Bush administration that dropped the Katrina ball.

Breaux wins.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 20, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but Jindal is the favorite in a Breaux -Jindal race. Did you guys forget that Hurricane Katrina displaced a significant portion of the Democratic electorate? Plus Jindal barely lost last time. Breaux's making lots of money as a lobbyist...he should stay out.

Posted by: you're all wrong | March 20, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Rudy's a fraud, just ask a fireman. A Breaux candidacy just might force Jindal into a senate race again Landrieu.

Posted by: mjh | March 20, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Go Blanco!!! We love you!!!

Posted by: Mildred | March 20, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL -

The republicans' ONE decent chance at a pick-up of a governorship in the entire 07-08 cycle - GONE. Sorry repubs. You're gonna have to find some other race to try and steal.

Meanwhile, republicans can kiss the Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri governor's mansions good bye.

Posted by: Ohio guy | March 20, 2007 11:00 PM | Report abuse

The photo of her above is emblematic of her administration - a complete disaster and she ran the state into the ground, leaving the shambles of devastation. The only thing missing is all of the weeping and wailing, but I'm sure she did enough of that today.

Good riddance - clueless, incomptent, and foolish

Posted by: Jan | March 20, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I almost feel odd for actually posting on topic. For those of you who don't, you should try it sometime.

Posted by: reason | March 20, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Jindal becomes the underdog in the race with Breaux in. It will be extremely difficult for the GOP to defeat Breaux.

Rob
http://bluesunbelt.com

Posted by: Rob | March 20, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Blanco's retirement removes what was almost a sure pick-up for Republicans. John Breaux vs. Bobby Jindal will be a very close race, with the edge having to go to Breaux. Having won statewide and serving as a senator until retirement, the Republican's best shot against Breaux would be Rep. senator David Vitter, and he's not leaving the senate. So Jindal vs. Breaux puts the La. governor race in a much more competitive mode, and it's looking better for Democrat's all the time.

Posted by: reason | March 20, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Giuliani - Serial Adulterer And Loudmouth Egotist, Able to Capitalize on Accidental Fame by Sucking Up to President Who Ignored Warnings of Terrorism-by-Plane.

Kathleen Blanco - Unfortunate Gov. of Louisiana during Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma Who Had to Try to Cope With The Aftermath Made That Much Worse by President Who Had Refused To Build Up Levees the Previous Summer.

That says it all.

Posted by: revised to reflect reality | March 20, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Giuliani - Hero/Leader of NYC during 9/11.

Kathleen Blanco -Clueless crybaby Gov. of Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina.

That says it all.

Posted by: Rudy_Fan_Club | March 20, 2007 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Giuliani - Hero/Leader of NYC during 9/11.

Kathleen Blanco -Clueless crybaby Gov. of Louisiana during Hurricane Wilma.

That says it all.

Posted by: Rudy_Fan_Club | March 20, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I will continue to punish this miserable state for their callous treatment of edwin....may Myself punish them until edwin is free...amen

Posted by: God | March 20, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

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