Local reaction to Blanco decision

March 21, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt

So what happens now in the race to replace Governor Blanco?  One thing is certain-- Blanco's decision not to run has made the governor's race a lot more interesting.

Qualifying isn't until September and only then will it become official who runs for governor. But with Governor Blanco's decision not to seek re-election it seems the field is wide open. Calcasieu Democratic Party Chairman Mike McHale knows to expect never a dull moment.  "Louisiana politics is a lot of things but it's never boring. I think certainly now there's going to be a lot of candidates run, probably more republicans and democrats than what we know of right now."

Up and coming republican, Representative Chuck Kleckley says recovery will be the big issue. "The governor's race is about leadership. Who's going to go to Baton Rouge. Who's going to lead Louisiana through this time of hurricane recovery."

Kleckley believes the questions surrounding John Breaux's residency and legal qualifications might take a while to resolve. "He has asked the attorney general for an opinion about his residency, whether he's a legal resident of Louisiana or not. But remember, if that comes back, all that is, is an opinion. It'll still be challenged in court if he decides to run for governor. So, this could be a long, drawn out process."

Yet, McHale says given Breaux's many years in Louisiana, it would be unfair to exclude him. "The fella's not even a candidate and already they're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to attack him. I think that's really sad. I think the people of Louisiana are smart enough that they ought to be able to decide who they want to serve in elected office. And if they want to vote for John Breaux, then they ought to have the opportunity to."

Both party members seem to agree Blanco's decision not to run creates a unique opportunity for her to help reduce the politics of hurricane recovery.

The primary election for governor as well as other statewide and many parish wide offices is October 20. Other offices on the ballot include state legislators and police jury.

Qualifying is September 4, 5 and 6.