A recent phone poll asking Livingston Parish residents to rate the performance of the parish president and council has raised eyebrows as officials begin gearing up for the final year of their terms.
No one is claiming responsibility for the poll, which was conducted in mid-November, but pollsters said the questions being asked indicate someone is trying to find out whether Parish President Layton Ricks is beatable in the next election cycle.
John Couvillon, of JMC Enterprises, confirmed he ran the poll but declined to name his client or discuss any specifics about the poll or its purpose.
“It’s one of those things where the people who paid for it don’t want me to say anything about it at this time,” Couvillon said Thursday.
The automated poll reportedly asked people whether Ricks should be re-elected but did not include the same question for council members, according to several parish residents who received the call.
Political consultant Bernie Pinsonat, of Southern Media & Opinion Research, said that’s a sure sign somebody’s eyeing the parish president’s race.
But Pinsonat warned that an automated poll may not give the best results because, by law, it must exclude cellphone numbers, leaving out roughly 30 percent of voters.
“I wouldn’t base my hopes of beating someone on that kind of data,” Pinsonat said.
No more political races in future for Martinez
Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez made it very clear this week that he won’t be seeking any political office after his current term ends Jan. 4, 2016.
The four-term parish president and former Ascension police juror has repeatedly said in the past he would not seek re-election as parish president.
However, Martinez was known to be privately considering running for other political office, possibly for parish assessor in the fall of 2015. But he says now he won’t be running for anything.
“I’m not running for any office. I’m going to enjoy my kids and grandkids,” Martinez said in an interview on Monday.
While not running for political office, Martinez said he plans to keep on working and has offers to pursue other ventures. “I’m probably going to be doing something, but I don’t know what,” Martinez said.
Late donations for school board races
Late money, just in time for Election Day on Saturday, has flowed into the campaign coffers of East Baton Rouge Parish School Board candidates Jennifer Andrews, Jerry Arbour, Connie Bernard and Evelyn Ware-Jackson.
They are four of the six candidates in runoffs Saturday for districts 1, 5 and 8.
On Friday afternoon, Andrews, a Democrat, reported to the Louisiana Board of Ethics receiving a $1,000 donation from an employees union to help fund her financially-strapped campaign to beat Republican challenger Mark Bellue for the District 1 seat. The donor is a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee associated with the Service Employees International Union. SEIU Local 21LA represents some school support workers in Baton Rouge.
Both candidates running for District 5 have new money.
Between Wednesday and Friday, Arbour, a Republican, filed a series of special reports, disclosing a total of $5,799 in new funds for his campaign as well as plans to spend $575 on Election Day radio. He received three campaign donations and loaned himself $1,000. His daughter-in-law, Lauren, gave him $300. Carranza Guidry and Linda Guidry, both residing at 8789 Darby Ave., gave Arbour $1,999 and $2,500, respectively.
Carranza Guidry, who goes by the name “C.J.,” has contributed $9,000 so far to five candidates, $4,000 of it to Arbour. A business he’s an officer with, Rover Janitorial Services, gave a sixth candidate, Democrat Patty Merrick, another $4,200, part a loan, part an in-kind contribution.
Arbour’s District 5 opponent, Democrat Evelyn Ware-Jackson, reported receiving $2,500 Friday from J.D., or Joseph Delpit, Enterprises. Delpit is a prominent political figure in Baton Rouge and owner of the Chicken Shack restaurants. J.D. Enterprises earlier gave $250 each to Vereta Lee, who was re-elected in District 2, and W.T. Winfield, who failed to make the District 5 runoff.
Finally, in the District 8 race, Republican Connie Bernard reported receiving $2,500 Monday from prominent trial attorney Donald Carmouche. Bernard is trying to fend off a well-funded challenge by newcomer and fellow Republican Chris Bailey. No more required campaign finance reports are due until Jan. 15.
Advocate staff writers Heidi Kinchen, David Mitchell and Charles Lussier contributed to this article.