Senate 37 – Insider Experience “Blemishes”
The Race in Senate 37 started as a one-horse affair. Current Senator B. L. “Buddy” Shaw’s decision not to stand for re-election opened the door for term-limited Representative Jane Smith to commit early that she would be running for the open seat. Interestingly, Shaw’s statement to not seek re-election was laced with references to the “Term Limit” fact that he had already served a total of 12 years in Baton Rouge, what he considered the intent of term limits. Smith was term limited in the house, having completed three four-year terms. But this was not Smith’s interpretation of term limits, because it was not specifically forbidden in the law.
However, Smith appeared to quickly sew up endorsements, raise money and have an easy “waltz” into office by scaring away potential opposition. After all, who would want to take on one of Governor Jindal’s floor leaders when it appeared they had cornered most of the Chamber of Commerce endorsements before anyone else understood the implications of the race?
The problem for “General” Jane and her supporters was that other people in the district were not prepared to anoint Jane to the position of State Senator. Jane appeared to have miscalculated the implications of decisions she made in negotiating special-interest deals for her supporters and creating public relations opportunities that were really “rehashed” news.
Among the notable deals Smith became embroiled in was the attempt to alter the intended course of State Highway 3132 in favor of a development for her campaign manager, personal home-builder, and financial contributor Tim Larkin. This gamble was not only challenged by many parties that had an interest in the intended 3132 project, but court challenges to halt the development plans of Jane’s supporter drew heavy negative publicity about her. (NOTE: Both Larkin and the Governor’s campaign were listed in the most recent campaign finance report as $2,500 contributors on the same day!)
Along with the 3132 negative news, Smith recreated “Signing” events for the construction of Interstate 49 north of Shreveport for the third time to dedicate funds the legislature had previously allocated and twice taken back. Other “Rededication” public relations events were held at other public-works projects around the region. All of these economic-impact projects are the cornerstone of one of Jane’s current TV ads and a letter-sized postcard that has been mailed to all the “Current Residents” in the district.
Then on the “Jobs” front, Jane calculated that she could claim credit for 67,000+ new jobs in the region. This fact was hard enough to swallow when it exceeded the total number of jobs that Governor Jindal claimed by ten thousand! All the positive news created in Baton Rouge, along with taking credit for the jobs created by Haynesville Shale exploration cannot compensate for the manipulative manner insiders have used to steer the voters of Senate 37.
At a later date we will evaluate the dump trucks of mud that are currently passing in the US mail and on TV and radio from Jane’s camp. We have yet to see any mud-slinging ads from the Peacock camp, but certainly all the facts that have been passed out in his campaign that have drawn reactions from the Smith Camp cannot go unanswered.