The two best-funded Republican candidates in the District 8 East Baton Rouge School Board race tout their credentials as strong conservatives. But their message is getting undercut by campaign developments.
In the case of Chris Bailey, it’s an endorsement by a prominent and politically active local Democrat, Cleo Fields. Meanwhile, incumbent Connie Bernard, who is seeking re-election, has come under attack by the state Republican Party’s Treasurer Dan Kyle.
Bailey’s name appeared on the “Cleo Fields Ticket,” sent out to voters earlier this week, along with more predictable endorsements for Democrats like Mary Landrieu and Edwin Edwards.
Bailey has raised more than $32,000 so far, getting lots of support from business leaders connected with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Bernard has raised more than $15,000 for her re-election bid. The other two District 8 candidates, also Republicans, have raised far less money, with Joan Wallyn reporting just shy of $2,000 in funds raised and Charles “Obie” O’Brien reporting $0.
The election is Tuesday with a runoff Dec. 6, if necessary.
District 8 covers much of the southeastern portion of the parish, where voters tend to be politically conservative.
Bailey, an insurance executive and first-time candidate for political office, released a flier earlier this week highlighting his conservative values and lists six: “Less Taxes, Pro Life, Pro Business, Less Regulation, Pro 2nd Amendment, For Prayer In Schools.”
While such checklists are common in elections for state representative, they are uncommon in school board elections where one’s stance on, say, abortion or gun control rarely comes into the picture.
Chris Comeaux, Bailey’s campaign manager, said Bailey is simply “trying to communicate to voters that he has the same conservative values that they have.” He said the campaign didn’t seek out Fields’ endorsement but is happy to accept it.
Bernard has highlighted the endorsement she’s received, from the parish Republican Party’s Executive Committee. She sits on the committee but recused herself from the vote.
Soon after that vote, on Oct. 1, Kyle, who also sits on the executive committee but opposed Bernard, sent out an email to the 243 members of the state’s GOP central committee, including Bernard, questioning her visible role in the Ron Paul insurrection at the June 2012 state GOP convention in Shreveport.
At that convention, Paul supporters, including Bernard, tried to get Paul delegates sent to the national convention instead of ones who would support candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Kyle urged support for Bailey, to whom he has contributed money and offered campaign advice.
“Connie will see it and know that elephants don’t forget,” Kyle wrote.