In his quest to elect more conservatives, Gov. Bobby Jindal is aiming to oust at least four Democrats vying to hold onto their legislative seats.
Jindal’s campaign released a list of endorsements Tuesday in races for statewide office, the Legislature and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The governor wants to turn out a Democratic legislator who fought his push to sell prisons. He also wants to shift Republicans into three seats held by Democrats not returning to the Legislature.
He backed some Democrats and also refused to endorse at least one Republican.
Jindal campaign aide Timmy Teepell said state Sen. Robert Adley, of Benton, will not get the governor’s backing even though he is a fellow Republican who is unopposed in his re-election bid.
Adley sparred with the Jindal administration on access to records in the governor’s office. Adley wanted to expand the public’s access to the records.
“Over the past four years, he’d rather fight and insult than work cooperatively with us,” Teepell said.
Jindal did not respond to a request for comment.
His endorsements include incumbents in statewide Oct. 22 elections, except for Louisiana’s No. 2 and 3 posts.
Teepell said the governor will not wade into the lieutenant governor’s race, which pits Republican incumbent Jay Dardenne against another Republican, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
Teepell said Jindal has not decided which Republican candidate to back in the secretary of state’s race. Incumbent Secretary of State Tom Schedler faces House Speaker Jim Tucker.
Jindal is seeking a second term. However, no well-financed candidate is running against him, giving him a nearly $9 million war chest to use in other races.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., also is seeking to become a player in the legislative races.
His Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority is targeting more than a dozen legislative seats.
Like Vitter, Jindal wants voters to make a change in the seats held by state Reps. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville, and H. Bernard LeBas, D-Ville Platte. He is backing Republicans in those races.
Jindal also wants Republicans to defeat the re-election bids of state Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, and state Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans.
“The candidates we endorsed in those races will provide a better opportunity to working together to create a better Louisiana,” Teepell said.
Johnson fought with the Jindal administration over a proposal to sell prisons in Avoyelles, Allen and Winn parishes. Avoyelles Correctional Center is in Johnson’s district. The proposal, which would have put hundreds of people out of work, ultimately failed.
Months later, Jindal is backing Republican Kirby “Coach” Roy III, of Hessmer, over Johnson.
“That’s because he wanted to close the prison and I wouldn’t go along with it. I’m not going to be a yes man for him,” Johnson said of the governor.
LeBas said he has no idea why Jindal opposes his re-election. Though he has never spoken directly to the governor, LeBas said he has carried bills for the administration.
Jindal endorsed LeBas’ Republican opponent, Julie Harrington, of Krotz Springs. “I think it’s strictly a Republican-Democratic thing,” he said.
In at least one race, Jindal backed a Democrat over a Republican.
The governor is supporting the re-election bid of state Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Pierre Part. St. Germain has a Republican opponent.
“I am surprised and very pleased that he knows he can work with me,” St. Germain said, after verifying that she is indeed on Jindal’s endorsement list.