Coming down the home stretch in 2019’s electoral horse race it is first time (Council) candidate Corey Orgeron who retained the fundraising lead (we think), nosing out District 5 incumbent Dempsey Lambert, who is seeking a fifth term. Half of Orgeron’s 15-page report is missing from the Ethics Administration link in which he reported $4,950, bringing his total to $16,375. Lambert added $4,350 in four separate reports since the “30-day” before election report required of every candidate, amassing a still impressive total, $15,675.
Orgeron ran, unsuccessfully, for a School Board seat last year and a judgeship in a place called “somewhere else” in 1998. He is seeking to unseat the District 4 incumbent, Daniel “Doc” Satterlee whose relatively meager $4,580 is tripled by the braggadocious challenger.
Besting the perpetually fundraising Dempsey Lambert in campaign contributions takes some doing. Since his first council bid in 2003 Lambert has reported over $43,000 in contributions even while he was unopposed in 2007 and 2015. Without an opponent in ’07 he pocketed $10,150 from January 1, 2006 through that election; adding another $4,550 in 2009.
A healthy warchest going into the 2011 cycle, Lambert “only” received $9,600 for his third successful run for the District 5 seat. His challenger this time around is Cheryl Malbrough who augmented her $5,600 in contributions with a $2,500 personal loan. Malbrough’s 10-day report has not been scanned into the Ethics Administration database.
Compare that to his council namesake, Todd Lambert who is seeking a sixth non-consecutive term in District 9. Since 2003 (the guys at Ethics haven’t scanned in earlier contributions), Todd Lambert has taken $19,720 in campaign contributions, averaging less than $4,000 per election.
Dempsey Lambert’s support from the engineering/subdivision developer community far outpaces his namesake. $6,750 of his 30-day total originated from those sources, another $2,000 since then. In past elections those dollars were even more pronounced. Nearly all of the $9,600 in 2011 came from engineers, construction firms, concrete sellers or realtors.
Todd Lambert’s 2019 contributions, $3,750, included $2,000 from similar sources; less than $1,000 in 2011 when he went in unopposed; $2,400 in 2007; a mere $700 in 2003. He finds himself in the same position as the District 4 incumbent, his opponent Dal Waguespack ($9,100) nearly tripling Lambert’s fundraising total. Waguespack’s contributors are virtually all private citizens.
In the middle is the third-longest serving council member, Oliver Joseph who has collected $34,000 in five regular elections, one of which he lost in 2003. (Joseph won a Special Election to finish the unexpired term of Alvin “Coach” Thomas in 2006, after losing to him three years earlier. Saturday’s election is a rematch.) Joseph has had a harder time of it in 2019, only collecting $5,000 in six individual contributions, half of which came from engineers.
Heavily dependent on those contributors who’ve been so generous to Dempsey Lambert, is it this particular opponent keeping those donors away? They have not found their way to “Coach” Thomas’ campaign if his finance reports are accurate. Thomas reported no contributions in his 30-day, only $273 in his 10-day report.
In District 2 the incumbent has eschewed those engineers/developers and their deep pockets, going so far as to refund $500 from GSA Consulting Engineers. Bill Dawson made up for it with $2,450 from members of A Better Ascension, the unidentified Political Action Committee which attempted to abolish the parish presidency in 2017-18 with a mighty assist from Dawson who occupied the Council Chairmanship those years. He also took $3,000 from individuals named “Rispone” including the candidate for Louisiana’s governorship.
Dawson’s $8715 in contributions is augmented by a $5,000 personal loan, half of what he loaned his campaign in 2015.
Opponent, Joel Robert did not receive any money from engineers, developers, architects, realtors, or any special interest among his $6,650 in contributions. He did loan his campaign $10,000.
District 7 challenger Kim Christy followed suit, lending her campaign $8304 in addition to $2,744 in private contributions from 29 donors, $94.62 per contribution.Christy was a vocal opponent of ABA which counted the incumbent, Aaron Lawler, among its supporters. Those battle lines remain as Lawler received $3,450 (out of a $5,485 total) in 30-day campaign contributions from ABA supporters.
Lawler’s 10-day report includes another $4,425 including $2,000 from engineer, T. Baker Smith ($1,000 from one of its owners personally); $500 from Hartman Engineers, and $1,000 max contribution from Shread-Kuykendall Engineers. All three entities enjoy contracts in the MoveAscension plan overseen by the Transportation Committee chaired by Lawler.
A third candidate, Devin Graham, filed no finance report.
In District 10 the incumbent enjoys backing from elected officialdom in the City of Gonzales. John Cagnolatti, without a parish presidential candidate to coattail on like 2015 (though he is a big Murphy Painter guy), still has plenty of engineers in his corner. Five firms accounted for $3,500 of the incumbent’s $8,500 total.
Jeff Pettit reported $2,250, none of it from the usual cast of characters.In District 11 it is Michael Mason seeking to unseat a three-term incumbent, Benny Johnson. Mason raised $1,450 during 2019 to Johnson’s $3,250, not too great a margin until the incumbent’s $5,500 held over from 2015 is factored in.
All of Mason’s money came from private individuals; all of Johnson’s from a PAC, engineers, design firms, or the parish bond counsel. Dugas & Mire, LLC give to just about every incumbent.
Three council seats have already been won. Incumbents Travis Turner and Teri Casso, and newcomer Chase Melancon went in unopposed.