Lafayette state House District 45 candidate Jan Swift so far in 2015 has raised more money than opponents André Comeaux and Jean-Paul Coussan, but the two men began the year with six-figure campaign cash reserves and they have more to spend going into the Oct. 24 election and, probably, the Nov. 21 runoff, records show.
In another contested Acadiana legislative election — for state Senate District 24 in parts of St. Landry, St. Martin and Lafayette parishes — political newbie Gerald Boudreaux’s campaign filings show backers contributed almost $100,000 this year in his race against Ledricka Thierry.
Thierry is a state representative from Opelousas who is looking to make the jump from the House to the Senate.
But by Monday, Thierry had not turned in her campaign finance report covering Jan. 1 to Sept. 14, according to the Louisiana Board of Ethics, where campaign finance reports are filed. The report was due Thursday. Thierry did not return a call left with her office Monday.
Campaign finance filings with the Louisiana Board of Ethics show fundraising among House District 45 candidates, all Republicans, is hotly contested. All three are running to succeed three-term Rep. Joel Robideaux, who by law cannot seek a fourth term and is running for Lafayette City-Parish president.
Swift led 2015 by pulling in $81,350 in fundraising from Jan. 1 until Sept. 14. Coussan was a close second with $76,600, and Comeaux was third with $53,200.
But Comeaux, an insurance executive, began 2015 with the most money of all three — $142,000 — and so far has spent $75,543, according to Ethics Board figures. As of mid-September, Comeaux had $122,274 in the bank, and like all the other candidates continued to collect campaign contributions.
“We’re planning for a runoff,” Comeaux said.
Coussan, a title attorney, as of Sept. 14 had over $120,000 in his campaign account.
“I think we have three quality candidates, and I think fundraising is one aspect of an overall campaign,” Coussan said. He said he and others have walked the entire district at least once. “I don’t think there’s any stone we’ve left unturned,” he said.
Swift runs the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation. By Sept. 14 her campaign had almost $87,270.
“I’m trying to utilize every dollar I have effectively,” Swift said, and added she believed the campaign has enough money to make a runoff.
Campaign records show Comeaux has spent over $75,000 so far, some of it going to consultants at The Political Firm in Baton Rouge. Coussan, whose campaign expenditures by mid-September topped $65,000, is being advised by Lafayette firm Arsement Media Group.
The filings show the campaign for Swift, whose political consultant is the Munson Group in Alexandria, has spent $37,304.
The Senate District 24 race, meanwhile, is a two-candidate contest that will be decided Oct. 24.
Boudreaux is in his 33rd year with the Lafayette Parks & Recreation Department.
Though he’s never run for political office before, in 2015 he collected a sum just a few hundred dollars shy of $100,000. Then Boudreaux loaned his campaign $50,000. Records show that going into the October election Broussard had over $37,600 remaining to spend.
Boudreaux said his personal loan to his campaign showed his “commitment to the cause.”
“I wanted to show … that I was in this thing to lead and to serve,” he said.
Thierry is completing her second term as representative of House District 40.
Thierry and Boudreaux are running for the Senate seat held by Elbert Guillory, who is running for lieutenant governor.
Editor's Note: This story was updated on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 9:30 a.m. to correct Gerald Boudreaux's name.