Louisiana: GOP Field for Baker’s Seat Continues to Grow

Posted January 23, 2008 at 6:51pm

Two more Republicans jumped into the special election to replace Rep. Richard Baker (R) this week as the still-fluid primary contest continues to take shape following the 11-term Congressman’s announcement earlier this month that he would resign soon.

Earlier this week, former Baker chief of staff Paul Sawyer (R) sent an e-mail to family and friends informing them of his intent to jump into the race.

“I am very sad to see my friend and mentor Richard Baker leave the U.S. Congress,” Sawyer wrote. “And while Louisiana is facing the immediate loss of more than 40 years seniority in the House of Representatives … I believe that my nearly 20 years experience in the U.S. Congress will be the best medicine for lost seniority. … I will not have to learn the ropes. I will not have to surrender discretion to congressional leadership who will want to tell me how to represent my constituents.”

Meanwhile, Baton Rouge businesswoman Laurinda Calongne (R) announced that she was jumping into the 6th district race.

Before serving as president of Robert Rose Consulting, Calongne worked as a Bush administration appointee to the Council on Graduate Medical Education. Calongne hopes to raise $600,000 for the primary.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Don Cazayoux is the frontrunner.

The special election to replace Baker is expected to take place at the same time that voters in the 1st district head to the polls to pick a successor to former Rep. Bobby Jindal (R), who was sworn in as governor earlier this week.

Under that schedule, candidates will have until Jan. 31 to qualify for the special election before the Democratic and Republican parties hold their first closed primaries in more than three decades on March 8. If no candidate tops 50 percent, a runoff will be held on April 5 with the general election on May 3. If neither party needs a runoff, the general election would be moved up to April 5.
— John McArdle