In an upcoming story, Gambit is examining the defections from the state Democratic party in recent months. Jeremy Alford takes a look at some of the disarray in the Louisiana Democratic Party, including the departures of Reps. Noble Ellington, Simone Champagne and Walker Hines, as well as state Sens. John Alario and Fred Mills. But Alford says Louisiana Republicans may be picking up their biggest scalp yet — that of state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell:
“The rumors are getting hot and heavy that [Attorney General Buddy] Caldwell is getting ready to switch parties,” says one longtime Democratic operative. “Then again, there has also been talk about him running for governor if no one qualifies against Jindal. He’s paranoid right now that there’s someone out there, some opposition. Caldwell is perfectly representative of what Democrats are going through right now.”
Adding fuel to the speculation is the lawsuit Caldwell filed on Jindal’s behalf last year challenging President Barack Obama’s Democratic-backed health care law. When contacted by Gambit on the possibility of switching parties, Caldwell offered “no comment.”
“Things are dicey right now,” the operative adds. “What happens if Caldwell does switch and [U.S. Sen.] Mary [Landrieu] decides not to run for re-election? Where are we at then? There will be no strong elected (statewide) personality. It’s all dying on the vine.”
More in next week's paper.
UPDATE, 1/27/11: Kevin Franck, communications director for theLouisiana Democratic Party
, responds: "In his heart, Buddy Caldwell is a Democrat and whichever way the political winds blow he'll always be a Democrat."