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The latest news from the Don Cazayoux campaign: Democrat Cazayoux leads Republican Woody Jenkins in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Richard Baker in Louisiana's 6th District. From Roll Call (subscription only):

With almost three weeks to go before his special election in the 6th district, state Rep. Don Cazayoux (D) led former state Rep. Woody Jenkins (R) 49 percent to 42 percent, according to an internal poll released by Cazayoux’s campaign on Monday.

The poll of 500 likely special election voters was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research April 8-10 and comes one week after Cazayoux released a March survey that showed him beating Jenkins 49 percent to 44 percent.

The GOP's own internal polling shows Cazayoux ahead as well, a rather remarkable situation for a R+6.5 district.

The Cook Political Report has moved their ranking of this race to "Leans Democratic". I think that is slightly optimistic-I'd call it a tossup at best-but it underscores the strength of Cazayoux's candidacy and his legitimate chance to win this seat and hold it.

If Cazayoux does manage to take the seat, he's in excellent position to hold it for the future. No incumbent Louisiana Representative from either party has been defeated by a member of the opposing party since 1890; every Louisiana seat which has changed hands in that time has been due either to retirement, or a successful primary challenge. That's bound to change sooner or later, especially as Louisiana is no longer a one-party state (as it was for most of the 20th century), but it's quite noteworthy nonetheless.

Naturally, the Republicans don't want to surrender a Republican seat (especially given the power of incumbency in Louisiana) without a fight. But with the NRCC barely treading water financially, and Jenkins' own fundraising dwarfed by Cazayoux's, they've been forced to call in the hit squad: Ari Fleischer's own Freedom's Watch.

Freedom’s Watch, a conservative advocacy group founded by former Bush administration officials last year, has bought advertising time on Baton Rouge television stations today – signaling a willingness for the upstart organization to help Congressional Republicans hang onto some of their more vulnerable seats.

The ad, scheduled to begin airing tomorrow, attacks state Rep. Don Cazayoux, the Democratic nominee running for former Rep. Richard Baker’s (R-La.) seat. Cazayoux is facing former GOP state Rep. Woody Jenkins in the May 3 special election.

The New York Times has some background on this happy gang of would-be Republicans saviors:

The conservative group Freedom’s Watch, headlined by two former senior White House officials, had been expected to be a deep-pocketed juggernaut in this year’s presidential election, heralded by supporters on the right as an aggressive counterweight to, George Soros and the like.

But after a splashy debut last summer, in which it spent $15 million in a nationwide advertising blitz supporting President Bush’s troop escalation in Iraq, the group has been mostly quiet, beset by internal problems that have paralyzed it and raised questions about what kind of role, if any, it will actually play this fall.

Freedom's Watch does have some money to play with, so they could be something of a factor in this race. As the Times reports, they have had serious problems figuring out any plan of action thus far, so they've been pretty quiet.

It figures, though, that if they can unite around one candidate, Jenkins is that guy. He's the perfect Republican for the new era, equal parts Club for Growth and Focus on the Family. And needless to say, he has absolutely no intention of making government work for anyone:

In a Febuary 1995 speech delivered to the conservative group The Council for National Policy at Rancho Mirage, California, Jenkins advocated the abolition of the Departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Education as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Legal Services Corporation.

"We want to do away with the programs, the bureaucrats and the cost of these agencies," Jenkins said.

A cursory review of the programs provided by the aforementioned departments provides a view of what Louisiana would have lacked in hurricane relief had Jenkins and his cohorts had their way before the first time we deemed him unfit to serve in national public office.

For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has provided tireless effort administering more than $11 billion in Community Development Block Grants. Their government Web site claims they are "helping thousands rebuild their homes and enabling communities to restore damaged public housing, promote affordable rental housing, and restore critical infrastructure."

You know, if we had just abolished HUD all those years ago, Katrina recovery would be so much easier now, right?

This is the Right's Chosen One, the one guy that Freedom's Watch can unite behind.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The writing is on the wall for the (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans this fall. If they are scrambling to cling to seats in their Dixie heartland, what's going to happen to them in the real battleground regions of the Midwest and Interior Mountains?

    I'd love to see Freedom Watch spend their money and drain their resources in Louisiana and lose this race. Would their donors choose to keep financing an ineffective organization? Or would they pour more money into the pit?

    "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you" ~ Pericles

    by Chrispy67 on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:24:37 PM PDT

  •  Not quite (9+ / 0-)

    No incumbent Louisiana Representative from either party has been defeated by a member of the opposing party since 1890

    Jerry Huckaby lost to Jim McCrery in 1992. But they were both incumbents.

    But no incumbent LA Rep. from either party has been defeated by a non-incumbent opponent for a long time.

    "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

    by RBH on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:32:14 PM PDT

    •  That's true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, mvr

      Huckaby was tossed into McCrery's district for the 1992 reapportionment.

      "Intelligence and stupidity have no limits. Unfortunately it looks like stupidity has won" -Arsene Wenger

      by Arjun Jaikumar on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:33:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Zorro District (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MI Sooner

        IOW, how Clinton won almost every county in North Louisiana in 1992, and lost McCrery's district.

        37% is still sucktastic though.

        that's not entirely ideal. But ok.

        I think the last time an incumbent lost to a non-incumbent was Huckaby/Passman in 1976.

        "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

        by RBH on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:45:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When in Las Vegas, be sure to... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, brownsox, SoxFan04

    take a walk southbound on the east side of the Strip, from The Wynn to Casino Royale. Admire the canals, gondolas and other features of The Venetian and The Palazzo, but don't go in!  These are owned by multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major financier of Freedom's Watch.  Personally, I'm not going to contribute to even more pro-Iraq War propaganda.

    "Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'I need to quit drinking!'" - Greasy Grant

    by Greasy Grant on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:32:51 PM PDT

  •  The name Freedom's Watch kills me. (5+ / 0-)

    I can't figure out whether to laugh at its awkward silliness or cringe at its creepy Orwellian overtones.  I think the idea is that they are supposed to be some sort of guardian's of freedom (though you have to laugh at the image of Ari Fleischer with a fat checkbook as a freedom fighter) but always sounds to me more like a Fire Brigade, as in, uh oh, looks like some Freedom is breaking out in LA, better stomp it out.

    On the other hand, it might make a kick ass new slogan for the Coast Guard.  Since they probably actually hold watches and guard us.

  •  Cazayoux is likeable, and has a sense of humor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, MI Sooner

    Cazayoux seems like a very well-liked, supportable candidate that has his fingers on the pulse of his electorate.

    He also seems to have a sense of humor:
    (from wikipedia)

    He has run several ads making sport of difficulties people may have pronouncing his Cajun last name. His first ad began with his daughters saying their father might have a hard time in the race because of it.[2]

    Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

    by sacrelicious on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:34:33 PM PDT

  •  "Upstart organization"! Yeah right. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Obama Should Cut An Ad For Him And Put Him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    urbannie, SoxFan04

    Over the top, a la Bill Foster, that would be sweet.

    Obama '08 YES WE CAN
    Dont Be Fooled. CHANGE Is Real And It Starts With YOU

    by DFutureIsNow on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:40:15 PM PDT

    •  And Gilda Reed, too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mlharges, MI Sooner, gildareed

      LA-01 isn't on anybody's radar... but it should be.

      To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

      by commonscribe on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:44:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know a lot of people here are leery (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      poliscizac, bosdcla14, peraspera, BruinKid
      because Cazayoux is pro-life, pro-gun and anti-amnesty for immigrants. But he's also for getting out of Iraq, against free trade deals, for SCHIP, for raising teacher pay and against federal education mandates, among other things. So there is a lot to like and he'd surely be an asset in congress in key areas.

      We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

      by anastasia p on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:57:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We all can disagree on some issues but we also (0+ / 0-)

        have to lead by example and embrace what unites us.

        Thats what CHANGE is all about.

        Obama '08 YES WE CAN
        Dont Be Fooled. CHANGE Is Real And It Starts With YOU

        by DFutureIsNow on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:18:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. Like I've been saying... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anastasia p

        here, for example.

        Does he think Democrats should run someone as liberal as Bernie Sanders in all 435 districts?  If not, then on which issues would he be OK with the candidate being more conservative?  Hm?
        And if homerun had bothered to do some research, he might realize that as of the last state poll, Louisiana is the 2nd most pro-life state in the Union, with only Utah exceeding it.  Not sure if the black people driven out of Louisiana by Katrina were pro-choice or pro-life, but regardless, you can be pretty sure that you still have a clear majority, and not just a plurality, of Louisianans being pro-life.

        I'd think running a pro-choice Democrat in that kind of district is the best way to ENSURE the seat stays Republican.  And then what have we really accomplished?  We stuck to our litmus test on abortion, and thus get a right-wing David Duke-connected Republican instead?

        No thanks.  No freaking thanks.

        And most stupidly, under a Democratic-controlled Congress, those kinds of pro-life issues won't be brought to the floor in the first place!  And if he fears Pelosi will still introduce those bills to the floor in the first place, then help us kick out even more Republicans and replace them with more and better Democrats to shore up her standing.  If we don't have enough Democrats to withstand some Blue Dog defections, her position is tenuous.  But if we still have a clear majority, then it really won't matter.

        God, this pisses me off, when bloggers rail against Cazayoux because of his stance on abortion.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        So when Howie Klein can only call Cazayoux an "anti-choice reactionary", as if none of those other issues matter, all I can do is roll my eyes and pity Klein for his simplistic world-view.

        •  Well said, BruinKid (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          This is why I stopped going to Talk Left. They started talking about primarying Zack Space (Oh-18) because on some issue or another, he voted too conservatively for them. Zack Space won a seat in a very Republican district because the seat's prior occupant rode his conservative Republican principles right straight into prison! Last year, it was the Republicans' top retake target. This year, not so much. Space has focused on issues that directly impact his constituents and has raised almost a million dollars while his weak opponent has $36,000 on hand but has loaned his own campaign $40,000. No one's thinking Space is endangered now! (well, actually, I hear that one nutty rightwing blogger thinks that but he's a minority of one). I recognize that Oh-18 is not Oh-11 -- my home district which is plus-33 Democratic. We can afford to have one of the most progressive representatives in congress (yet I have actually heard some purists talk about primarying HER because she is a Hillary national co-chair. Whatever.)

          We're retiring Steve LaTourette (R-Family Values for You But Not for Me) and sending Judge Bill O'Neill to Congress from Ohio-14:

          by anastasia p on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 04:11:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oy. (0+ / 0-)

            I know a diehard Obama supporter here (I was strongly for Edwards, now Obama by default when he dropped out) who was telling me how "they" would remember who supported Hillary come election time, and started rattling off names of California Congresswomen that were supporting Hillary instead of Obama, and how they'd pay a price in the future.  I'm just sitting there thinking, "you're crazy".

            Now, I desperately do not want Hillary to get the nomination, but to punish any elected official who dares support her?  Sheesh.

            Can't wait to see Howie Klein or Talk Left or whatever other purist site go off on how Cazayoux and Childers in MS-01 are.... gasp.... pro-life and pro-gun!  The horror, the horror!  (rolls eyes)

  •  Am I wrong to think ol' Woody was advocating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... outright homicide?

    "We want to do away with the programs, the bureaucrats and the cost of these agencies," Jenkins said.

  •  Perhaps, it has gotten so bad that we (0+ / 0-)

    have to destroy those departments to save them. Starting with DOJ.

    To fully understand Christianity's duplicity, first recognize that the Vatican's St. Peter's Square is actually an oval.

    by agnostic on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 01:52:17 PM PDT

  •  Freedom's Watch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where do they come up with these ridiculous names.  I swear they have 3 year olds on the pay roll.  

  •  Dailykingfish is trying to raise 10k in a week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they're less than 2k away, the deadline's today.

    So if you'd like to see another shocking Democratic pickup, go over and chip in.  

    I was on the fence for awhile, but just chipped in $25 based on the info in this diary.  Cazayoux won't be the most progressive Democrat in Congress, but he's taken a strong stand on Iraq and isn't shying away from the Democrat label.  

    Imagine if the government took David's sling away and gave it to Goliath. Now you understand tort reform.

    by bosdcla14 on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:10:09 PM PDT

  •  Freedom's Watch is trying to play (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Word on the Politico is that they are dropping $120,000 on Baton Rouge televsion. That's not chump change in the media market. Hope we don't let it pass.

    Visit my Act Blue Page "Blue West" - htp://

    by RandySF on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:18:58 PM PDT

  •  DCCC has a pile now (0+ / 0-)

    I somewhere this morning they have $44 million COH.

    Visit my Act Blue Page "Blue West" - htp://

    by RandySF on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:20:22 PM PDT

  •  That HUD comment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DailyKingFish, gildareed

    Wasn't it the previous Rep of LA-06 who claimed "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did" not long after Katrina? Given Jenkin's HUD comments, it sounds like the Rethugs have found a worthy successor.

  •  After their first"surge" commercial (0+ / 0-)

    Ari "watch what you say"Fleischer was being interviewed by CNN about the brave soldier who lost a leg along with other severe injuries.The soldier supported the "surge,"but when the reporter asked Ari his name,he didn`t even know.Ari looked like the criminal fool he is.
    The graphic under the clip read in capital letters:"FREEDOM` SWATCH."

    Democracy is not dead;it merely smells funny

    by sully18 on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:33:41 PM PDT

  •  Hey brownsox ... (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for taking my diary, and passing it off as your own.  

    Appreciate it.  

  •  NJ-05 is now in play (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Blue Jersey

    A poll conducted by Momentum Analysis for the Shulman for Congress campaign has some sobering news for incumbent Congressman Scott Garrett. The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted between April 5-7 and has a margin of error of +/-5%.

    Garrett's re-elect numbers are well under 50%. Only 31% say they plan to re-elect Garrett, while 34% say they will consider someone else to replace him. A plurality is unsure of how they will vote. Compared to publicly available polling, Garrett has the lowest re-elect numbers of any Republican incumbent including John Shadegg (AZ-3) at 39% and Robin Hayes (NC-8) at 40%.

    Visit my Act Blue Page "Blue West" - htp://

    by RandySF on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:40:55 PM PDT

  •  Oh, I'm sure he would keep it working for... (0+ / 0-)

    Halliburton and Exxon-Mobile.

    needless to say, he has absolutely no intention of making government work for anyone

    Love that "power of the purse!" It looks so nice up there on the mantle (and not the table) next to the "subpoena power."

    by Sacramento Dem on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 02:58:50 PM PDT

  •  "Ari Fleischer's" Freedom's Watch (0+ / 0-)

    Heh...every time you write that and it gets read in the big office over at the Venetian, it looks like another plume of smoke from the TI Pirate show.

    If you keep doing that, we might soon find Ari wearing a placard to remind everyone that he might be the face of the organization, but Sheldon Adelson is the ego, id and all the money.

  •  Opposition Commercials (0+ / 0-)

    I've only ever found one filing for Freedom's Watch at the FEC; it was a 24-hour notice for an ad buy against Robin Weirauch in an OH special election last fall (Weirauch did not win).

    The filing reported the $76,000 ad expenditure to Jamestown Associates, and about $86,000 in donations that were presumably going towards the ad. $80,000 of that came from Sheldon Adelson.

    This would be their second oppo ad buy; I'll have to check the FEC for a similar filing.

    And as things fell apart
    Nobody paid much attention
    -- Talking Heads, (Nothing But) Flowers

    by wanderindiana on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 03:20:44 PM PDT

    •  no new FEC filing (0+ / 0-)

      It was a Form 9 filing done last fall; a letter accompanying the filing explains that form was used in lieu of a yet to be revised or developed form based on a November 20, 2007 FEC ruling (not sure what that was yet).

      We may or may not see a filing yet on this new ad buy, but there's nothing there thus far.

      And as things fell apart
      Nobody paid much attention
      -- Talking Heads, (Nothing But) Flowers

      by wanderindiana on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 03:37:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  repost of an Open Left comment (0+ / 0-)

      Posted this a day or two ago at Open Left, as before that Politico report came out, no one had posted anything that I could find abut that OH-5 ad buy. Has a link to the FEC Freedom's Watch filing page, for reference, detailed names/amounts donated, and an exact figure of the expenditure.

      Just wanted to make note of the only FEC filing (PDF file) I could find on Freedom's Watch, FEC form 9, dated 12/8/2007:

      List of Person(s) Sharing/Exercising Control:

      Mel Sembler - Chairman, The Sembler Company

      Matthew Brooks - Executive Director, Republican Jewish Coalition

      Ari Fleischer - President, Fleischer Communications

      Bradley Blakeman - President, Freedom's Watch

      William Weidner - Las Vegas Sands Corporation, COO

      Others of note on FEC filing:

      Douglas W. Robinson - Freedom's Watch, CFO

      Ryan Teague, Esq. - ? (submitted FEC filing)

      The filing, a 24 hour notice of disbursments/obligations, was connected to an advertisement entitled "Health Care" produced by Jamestown Associates.

      The filing reported $86,000 of donations, as follows:

      $1,000 from Bradley Blakeman

      $2,500 from William Weidner

      $80,000 from Sheldon Adelson

      $2,500 from Mel Sembler

      The expenditure for the ad:

      $79,317.80 to Jamestown Associates against Robin Weirauch, Congressional special election candidate (OH-5)

      I hadn't seen this info posted at Congresswatch or Wikipedia, so I thought I'd float it out there.

      And as things fell apart
      Nobody paid much attention
      -- Talking Heads, (Nothing But) Flowers

      by wanderindiana on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 04:28:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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