The state’s major business lobby on Thursday endorsed the re-election bids of 51 legislators as well as the candidacy of two challengers over incumbents.
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s political action arm also threw its support to Baton Rouge Democratic state Rep. Dalton Honore in his run for the seat held by term-limited state Sen. Sharon Broome. Also in the race is state Rep. Regina Barrow, another Baton Rouge Democrat.
In a news release announcing the legislative picks, LABI PACs also supported the re-election of state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members Holly Boffy of Youngsville, Jim Garvey of Metairie and Kira Orange Jones of New Orleans. Its EastPAC picked Jada Lewis, assistant dean of LSU’s College of Engineering, over incumbent Carolyn Hill of Baton Rouge.
Legislators rating on LABI’s 2012-2015 cumulative scorecard as well as their commitment to working with the business community came into play as endorsements were made, the group said.
This year, 94 state legislators got Fs from LABI largely because they voted for tax increases on business to help balance the budget. But the bad grade didn’t seem to impact LABI endorsements. Among those getting the LABI seal of approval were leaders in the effort including Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego and Senate Finance chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville.
Most of the endorsements went to business-friendly Republicans, but there were a few Democrats getting the nod too, such as Reps. Major Thibaut of New Roads, Neil Abramson of New Orleans, and Sam Jones of Franklin, and state Sens. Francis Thompson of Delhi and Greg Tarver of Shreveport.
In two races, LABI’s WestPAC went for challengers over incumbents. The group endorsed Republican businesswoman Julie Emerson over Democratic state Rep. Stephen Ortego, both from Carencro; and Republican Biscuit Smith of Longville over Democratic state Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill of Dry Creek.
Among others getting LABI’s endorsement were:
State Sens. Bodi White, R-Central, Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, and Page Cortez, R-Lafayette; and State Reps. John A. Berthelot, R-Gonzales, Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs; Barry Ivey, R-Central, Stephen Pugh, R-Ponchatoula, Clay Schexnayder, R-Sorrento, Greg Cromer, R-Slidell, Raymond Garafalo, R-Chalmette, Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville, Chris Leopold, R-Belle Chase, Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans, Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, John Schroder, R-Covington, Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs; Julie Stokes, R-Metairie, Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, Mike Huval, R-Breaux Bridge, Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, and Blake Miguez, R-New Iberia.