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Louisiana Sec. of State and Attorney General races draw no Democratic contenders

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September 9, 2011

By David Godow

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana:

As candidate filing in Louisiana's 2011 statewide elections drew to a close on Wednesday, it became clear that the races for Louisiana Secretary of State and Attorney General will be a Republican party this fall. Both Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and Secretary of State Tom Schedler picked up only one Republican opponent this season.

Louisiana secretary of state election, 2011

Republican Party Republican candidates

Louisiana attorney general election, 2011

Republican Party Republican candidates

Commentary

The main surprise of this week's 3-day qualifying period was the absence of New Orleans attorney and 2010 Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Caroline Fayard, who was expected to challenge Schedler in the race for secretary of state. Fayard's campaign, which she announced on May 4, was hamstrung by comments she made during a March Democratic fundraiser, where she quoted as saying "I hate Republicans," whom she also allegedly called "cruel and destructive." She also drew criticism among conservatives for her links to Bill and Hillary Clinton and other liberal Democratic Party luminaries. Fayard announced in July she was considering whether to continue her campaign or not; her absence from candidate qualifying this week is as clear a statement of her decision as any. Regardless, the race for Louisiana Secretary of State will feature incumbent Republican Schedler, who has yet to win an election to his position after being appointed in 2010, against veteran GOP lawmaker and Speaker of the state House Jim Tucker, as challenging an opponent as Schedler could have expected this election season.

In the race for attorney general, Republican challenger Cao may have a hard time unseating popular incumbent Buddy Caldwell, who quietly switched his allegiance from the Democratic to the Republican Party last year. Cao, like Fayard, has been dogged by questions about his conservative principles; as a member of the U.S. House representing a strongly Democratic, majority black district in northeast Louisiana, he was the lone GOP congressman to support for President Barack Obama's health care reform bill in an early 2009 vote. Though Cao opposed the final version of the bill before its passage, his initial decision cost him considerable political capital in conservative Louisiana. Cao justified his choice on the grounds that he was bound to support the will of his constituents, who largely supported the President's proposal.

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