If campaign finance reports had themes, the new one by Walt Leger III, filed 180 days before New Orleanians head to the polls to vote for a new mayor, might be this: I'm not saying, I'm just saying....
Campaign finance reports released Monday show mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell pulled in mo…
Unlike retired judge Michael Bagneris and City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, Leger, the House speaker pro tem is not saying that he's a candidate. His form lists the "office sought" as a "future election" in Orleans Parish on Oct. 14, when contests for mayor, council and other municipal posts will be on the ballot.
But the content gives the clearest public sign yet that Leger is taking a very serious look at the race, and that, if he does run, his will be a big-time campaign.
The proof isn't so much in the fundraising — Leger took in $103,000 in the first quarter of 2017, less than Cantrell's $183,685 and more than Bagneris' $85,900, which includes $50,000 he loaned himself — as in the spending.
It wasn't a traditional announcement. There was no hotel ballroom packed with supporters, an…
Leger paid more than $40,000 to the polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, which helped a pro-John Bel Edwards political action committee chart his narrow path to victory back in 2015. For fundraising, Leger has hired Kate Magsamen, who once played the same role for former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The most eye-popping expenses listing covers two payments totaling more than $21,000 to VR Research in California, which specializes in opposition research.
That's a lot of money and a lot of muscle for what's still supposedly an exploratory effort.
Leger is busy with the legislative session now, and doesn't expect to declare his intentions for at least another month or so. Nor is he the only potential candidate who's taking his or her time to figure things out.
Based on this report, though, he's got to be the busiest.