Lt. Governor's Candidates Plan For High-Spending Campaign

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's lieutenant governor's race appears on track to be a high-spending competition, at least between two of the Republican candidates in the field.
         Billy Nungesser, a former Plaquemines Parish president who lost a previous bid for the position, reported having $2.1 million in his campaign bank account at the end of last year — nearly half of which he kicked in himself.
         Fellow GOP contender John Young, president of Jefferson Parish, filed a campaign finance report showing his campaign with $1.8 million at the close of the fundraising period on Dec. 31.
         Reports outlining the fundraising and spending that candidates for statewide elected positions did in 2014 were due Wednesday to the state Board of Ethics. The fall election is scheduled for Oct. 24.
         Young outraised Nungesser slightly in 2014 for the open lieutenant governor's seat, bringing in nearly $464,000 throughout the year, while Nungesser received contributions of about $438,000. But Nungesser added $900,000 of his own money to boost his cash on hand above the amount reported by Young.
         Nungesser issued a statement saying his campaign was "off to a good start" but that he was seeking to have a total of $4 million to spend. Meanwhile, Young's campaign noted that no personal loans were included in the funds it reported.
         Two other men — Republican state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, a Democrat — have said they intend to run for lieutenant governor. But neither had filed a campaign finance report for the race by Wednesday evening.
         The position is open because Republican Jay Dardenne is running for governor this fall.
         Most of the statewide elected officials who are running for re-election have more money in the bank than any announced challengers, with the exception of Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, who lags behind fellow Republican Jeff Landry, a former congressman.
         One of the heftiest campaign accounts belongs to state Treasurer John Kennedy. The Republican, serving his fourth term as treasurer, brought in more than $715,000 in 2014 and wrapped up the year with just under $3.5 million in his campaign account.
         Kennedy hasn't announced what position he'll be seeking in the October election, saying he's considering running for governor, attorney general or re-election to his current job. A news release described Kennedy's fundraising as "for use in a future statewide campaign."
         For other statewide races:
—In the attorney general's race, Landry has more than three times the campaign cash reported by incumbent Caldwell. Caldwell's report showed him raising $39,000 in 2014, ending the year with $302,000 in the bank. Landry brought in more than $766,000 in donations. Coupled with a $392,000 personal loan, Landry reported more than $1 million in his account.
—Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican, reported raising nearly $226,000, loaning his campaign more than $15,000 and ending 2014 with just under $315,000 in the bank. Democratic challenger Chris Tyson, a law professor, filed a report that showed him bringing in more than $84,000, adding a $27,500 personal loan and closing the period with $78,000.
—Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, a Republican, said he took in nearly $272,000 for his campaign in 2014 and closed the year with more than $442,000 cash on hand. Challenger Matt Parker reported more than $11,000 in contributions, a $25,000 personal loan and a year-end balance of just under $14,000.
—Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, a Republican, reported taking in $189,000 in contributions and wrapping up 2014 with $457,000 in the bank.
         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte
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