In what one "old timer" described as one of the dirtiest races in his memory, Democrat Candidate James D. "Buddy" Caldwell won the race for Louisiana Attorney General over the Republican, Royal Alexander. My opinion is that the race boiled down to two issues. First, the voter turnout in areas that Alexander needed was low. This was mostly due to the lack of down ballot races in Alexander's areas and several significant down ballot races in Cadlwell's strong areas. Second, the influx of close to $1,000,000.00 in the race by the 527 organization, Louisiana Justice Fund.
At some point in time Louisiana Justice Fund will have to report its source of funds and I am willing to bet that it is either Planned Parenthood, Democratic Attorneys General Association, or a group of Trial Lawyers. At any rate, I doubt that it will be money from inside Louisiana. Essentially, because of loopholes in campaign finance laws, an out of state organization was able to use unlimited funds to finance a negative campaign against a statewide candidate without ever having to reveal its identity. If you or I donated $250.00 or more it has to be reported within weeks. This entity spent $100k's and the source of its funds remains a mystery.
The televised media could have made the airing of the advertisements contingent upon the disclosure of the source of funding for Louisiana Justice Fund, but in the end the smell of money was too much for them. The print media in Louisiana just simply does not have the backbone for good investigative journalism and all but dropped the ball on the matter. For the most part the stories run by the print media concerned the issues in the advertisements and never really addressed the fact that the source of the funding was never disclosed. Oh well, that is Louisiana politics for you.
Alexander will land on his feet. He now has significant name ID around the state and most importantly, won Caddo and Bossier Parishes. This was done despite the endorsement of Caldwell by several old time politicians, most notably the District Attorney Paul Carmouche. Despite radio and television advertisements against Alexander, Carmouche was unable to produce for Caldwell. This should be of concern to Carmouche since he is certain to face Shreveport Attorney Craig Smith in his re-election this fall. Smith, a well- financed Democrat and Shreveport native, is already actively campaigning for the job. Carmouche, who has been District Attorney for 30 years has not had to run a race since his election. Carmouche's connections to the establishment cannot be discounted, but Smith may have a few surprises up his sleeve. Smith has deep roots in the community and has significant support in the Shreveport legal community.