By Ariella Cohen, The Lens staff writer |
The latest campaign filings from Gov. Bobby Jindal show more money flowing to him from former eBay CEO and defeated California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman than from the entire population of New Orleans.
The largely uncontested incumbent raised $313,859 in cash between April 16 and July 14, $10,000 of it from the Atherton, Ca., Republican and her husband, Griff Harsh, filings released Monday show. In comparison, $1,825, or half of one percent of the total from all donors, came from New Orleans.
Whitman and Jindal’s friendship dates to last fall when he took off for California in the middle of Louisiana’s budget crisis to campaign for the billionaire first-time candidate. The flack Jindal took for the trip may be coming home to roost; checks sent by Whitman and her husband total more than the donations made by any single Louisiana city other than Baton Rouge, which gave a citywide total of $11,816 in the last quarter.
An analysis of campaign contributions shows that the second biggest epicenter of Jindal support, behind Red Stick, is Evansville, In., which gave a citywide total of $10,065. Though geographically distant from Louisiana, the small Ohio River hamlet is home to a plastics and manufacturing sector that feeds off the Pelican State’s petrochemical industry. All but $65 from Evansville came from Stephen Chancellor and his wife Terri, major GOP donors who made a fortune producing coal energy, and processed food including the ready-to-eat meals (MRE) sold to the Department of Defense.
Here in New Orleans, the largest chunk of support, $1,000, came from Transportation Consultants Inc., a warehousing and logistics company that received $900,000 in incentives from the state last year to build a new facility at the Port of New Orleans’ France Road terminal.
In addition to the cash support, Jindal raised $21,000 in in-kind donations and another $11,000 in investment proceeds during this most recent fundraising period. The in-kind support included $8,747 from New Orleans, most of it related to an event held at the Algiers home of state Sen. David Heitmeier, D-Algiers.
The $347,141 cumulative intake, though not as large Jindal’s haul in previous quarters, leaves him plenty flush, with $8.8 million for a campaign that so far has attracted only underfinanced unknowns. The election is three months away.
Jindal’s dearth of New Orleans supporters is not likely to hurt him. Only 33 percent of the city’s heavily Democratic electorate backed him four years ago.
Only one Louisiana governor has ever come from the Crescent City, Richard Webster Leche. The former governor, the state’s 44th, also bears the dubious distinction of being the first governor of Louisiana sentenced to prison – but not, of course, the last.
Leche, a graduate of Warren Easton High School and Loyola University Law School, took office in the first election after the 1935 assassination of Huey Long, whose machine backed him. He resigned in 1939 amid scandal and allegations of rampant corruption. In 1940, the New Orleans native went to jail on charges of mail fraud and misuse of public money.