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|EWE and Jindal should talk|
Recently re-elected with some 66 percent of the vote, Gov. Bobby Jindal apparently is considering running for a third term.
At least that's what Jindal's chief political advisor, Timmy Teepell, said in a recent interview.
If Jindal's serious about running for governor again some day, he would do well to have a chit chat with former Gov. Edwin Edwards. They shouldn't discuss what Jindal, a Republican, could possibly accomplish by serving a third term. Instead, Edwards, a Democrat, could give Jindal some good advice on how to set the stage for Jindal to help elect his successor, who he could easily beat in a comeback bid four years down the road.
First, let's turn the clock back to the 1979 gubernatorial campaign.
Edwards was nearing the end of his second term as governor and was barred from running for re-election that year. That was the case because the state Constitution prohibits governors from serving more than two consecutive terms. The Constitution allows a governor to make a comeback after sitting out for a spell, but it's no-no for a governor to serve three or more terms in direct succession.
The field of candidates in the '79 governor's race was a crowded one to say the least. The Democrats included Jimmy Fitzmorris, Paul Hardy, Bubba Henry, Louis Lambert, Edgar Mouton and some minor candidates. The lone Republican in the race was then-Congressman Dave Treen.
In the wide-open primary, Lambert narrowly outpolled Fitzmorris to make the run-off with Treen, who ran first. The initial vote count on election night showed Fitzmorris had run second, but a recount pushed Lambert into the No. 2 spot. Fitzmorris lodged a legal challenge but to no avail.
Though Edwards publicly endorsed Lambert following the primary election, it's no hidden secret EWE didn't lift a finger to help Lambert in the run-off. In fact, political junkies have speculated for years that Edwards quietly worked against Lambert because he knew Treen would be far easier to beat when he made his comeback in 1983.
There's evidence to prove it, too. Or evidence that paints a pretty clear picture that Edwards preferred to take on Treen in '83 instead of a fellow Democrat in Lambert.
Without naming names because the men are still alive and well and engaged in business in Louisiana, two individuals from Lincoln Parish who were closely aligned with Edwards showed up at a Treen fundraiser at the former Chauvin Racquet Club in Monroe. In their possession was a sack of cash money. Treen's people took possession of the money and promptly deposited it at a local bank.
The message was abundantly clear – Edwards' key financial backers were supporting Treen for two reasons. No. 1, they didn't want to be left out in the cold for the next four years with Treen calling the shots as governor. And No. 2, they knew EWE could easily unseat Treen four years down the road.
Was Edwards behind the flow of money to Treen's campaign? Probably so. Was he aware of it? Absolutely. Did he do anything to discourage it? Heck no.
As we've heard many times before, the rest is history. Treen won the '79 governor's race but by only some 5,000 votes. He even carried EWE's home parish of Acadia.
What does that tell us?
Tells me plenty, and it helps prove the point that Edwards played his cards carefully in '79, knowing full well that he had every intention of becoming the first three-term governor in state history. A fourth term would come later.
Can Jindal pull off what Edwards accomplished some three decades ago?
At the very least, today's little history lesson should give Teepell and the governor something think about over the holidays. After all, they don't have much time to figure out who Jindal should support or not support in the 2015 governor's race. Assuming Jindal desires to serve a third or fourth term as governor.
And now would be as good a time as any for Jindal reach out to Edwards for some advice. I suspect the former governor would be more than happy give it to him over lunch at his favorite restaurant, Ruth's Chris.
Of course, Jindal should pick up the tab.