Task force's task: Break Louisiana's 'Groundhog Day'-like loop of yearly budget shortfalls

Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, asks questions of Beth Courtney, president and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, during an Appropriations Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education on March 29 at the State Capitol.

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS

The battle to become Louisiana's next state treasurer is starting to take shape, as veteran political operatives begin to line up on teams.

State Rep. John Schroder, a Covington Republican who is the first elected official to throw his hat into the treasurer's race, on Monday revealed key players on his campaign. He's assembled a team with representatives from a broad spectrum of previous Republican campaigns, with links to U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John N. Kennedy, former Gov. Bobby Jindal and former U.S. Sen. David Vitter, among others.

Jay Vicknair will serve as Schroder's campaign manager. Vicknair previously led Jay Dardenne's successful campaign for lieutenant governor in 2010 and Dardenne's unsuccessful bid for governor in 2015. Vicknair went on to work on David Vitter's gubernatorial campaign during the runoff race against Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Alle Bautsch, who led fundraising efforts for Jindal's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns as well as many other campaigns throughout the state, has been tapped to serve as Schroder's chief fundraiser.

Lionel Rainey, who recently worked on Kennedy's successful campaign for U.S. Senate, is Schroder's senior strategist.

And Republican pollster John Diez of Magellan Strategies BR, who advised U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's campaign against Democrat Mary Landrieu, will be in charge of Schroder's polling, research and policy.

“I’m very proud of the strong, talented campaign team overseeing my 2017 treasurer campaign,” Schroder said in a news release announcing the slate. “I look forward to working with them as we share my conservative record of fiscal responsibility.”

The special election to replace Kennedy in the state treasurer's office has been set for Oct. 14.

Kennedy, who was first elected as a Democrat but later switched to the GOP, held the office for 16 years. His election to the Senate has set up what's likely to be the first competitive race for state treasurer since he was first elected to the post.

Pundits have been speculating about who might run for the state-wide seat.

New Orleans Democratic lawyer/accountant Derrick Edwards, who recently ran for the U.S. Senate, and Republican Mike Lawrence, a Mandeville accountant who briefly ran former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s Senate campaign, have announced their plans to run.

Several others, including more members of the state Legislature, have indicated they are eyeing the post. Schroder's campaign says he has already raised $500,000 for his run.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.