Feb 042016
Sarah Slamen works at the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Sarah Slamen works at the Bernie Sanders campaign headquarters. (Danae Columbus for UptownMessenger.com)

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

With Tuesday’s surprising Iowa caucus results and attention now turning to New Hampshire, New Orleans voters are beginning to focus on Louisiana’s March 5th presidential primary. Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have made fundraising stops in the region. Sen. Bernie Sanders has opened a campaign headquarters in Metairie. While Congressman Cedric Richmond and state Democratic Party chair Karen Carter Peterson are currently leading Hillary Clinton’s outreach efforts, Louisiana chairs have been named for Trump, Rubio and Kasich.

Sanders’ Louisiana team is headed by millennial Sarah Slamen who recently wrapped up a stint with one of the groups supporting John Bel Edwards. Based out of the IBEW offices in Metairie, Slamen claims a 1,000-person volunteer force who are phone banking, holding watching parties and even plan to canvass before early voting begins. She’s thrilled with Sanders’ numbers in Iowa, his all-but-assured victory in New Hampshire, and feels he will do well in Louisiana because 40% of the state’s voters live in poverty. A Louisiana Democratic victory might be difficult for Sanders if African-American democrats gravitate toward Clinton, with whom they are more familiar.

Several of the “Women For Hillary,” including April Springfield, will be canvassing in New Hampshire this weekend and have invited others to join them. It’s even possible that former President Bill Clinton might visit Louisiana in the coming weeks. Though expected to lose New Hampshire, Clinton should run well in many Southern states if her email scandal subsides. Clinton already has more than a few committed delegates in Louisiana.

Sen. Marco Rubio’s strong showing in Iowa on Monday and yesterday’s endorsement by Rick Santorum have undoubtedly invigorated his Louisiana team headed by State Senator Bodi White along with New Orleans lawyers George Fowler and Rob Couhig. A GOP insider, Rubio is an acceptable candidate by much of the Republican Party’s leadership but as a relatively young lawmaker is thought by some to lack adequate leadership experience.

Ohio native and long-time New Orleans attorney Stewart Peck is “all in” with Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Working with J.T. Hannan, Stephen Gele and others, Team Kasich has a fundraiser planned uptown and has put together a delegate slate. Having served in Ohio’s state legislature and in Congress before becoming governor in 2011, Kasich supporters call him a moderate, highly experienced and willing to make tough decisions based on the public’s best interest. Team Kasich is betting that their candidate will fare much better in New Hampshire than Iowa, which will give Kasich the solid foundation to soldier on to the South and Midwest. Wallet Hub reports that 78% of the time, the Republican candidate who wins New Hampshire goes on to win the nomination.

Ted Cruz ran a textbook-perfect campaign in Iowa that put Trump to shame. His style might not work as well with the less religious, more independent New Hampshire electorate. Still, Cruz has the resources and ego to continue on to the Carolinas and beyond. Backed by Louisiana’s Tea Party and Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, Cruz might run well in conservative North Louisiana but he won’t draw large numbers in the more moderate parts of the state.

Fighting back from his Iowa loss, Trump took time off from New Hampshire last night to court voters in Little Rock, Arkansas in advance of the southern primaries. While his personal plane broke down in Tennessee, he eventually arrived via private jet. PSC Commissioner Eric Skrmetta and former legislator Woody Jenkins have big plans for Trump in Louisiana as does staffer Ryan Lambert who managed Garrett Graves’ congressional race. Early voting begins in about two weeks.


It may be too extreme to say that New Orleans is the next Flint, Michigan, but it’s not out of line to say that many of New Orleans’ older homes that did not flood during Katrina probably have an excessive amount of lead in their water supply to go along with lead-based paint on their walls and home exteriors.

Chances are, new homes or homes rebuilt after Katrina have plastic pipes. The rest of us should obtain testing equipment and be prepared to install filters whenever necessary. S&WB Executive Director Cedric Grant said on 60 Minutes last Sunday that the City treats our water effectively but isn’t responsible for water quality beyond the meter. The S&WB is conducting a study of water quality in selected neighborhoods. Eligible homeowners will receive a free water testing kit and a professional evaluation of your home’s water. For more information call 568-5942.

Danae Columbus has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall and the Dock Board. She currently works for the Orleans Parish School Board. Among the recent candidates who have been represented by her public relations firm are City council members Stacy Head and Jared Brossett, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.

  One Response to “Danae Columbus: Presidential campaigns begin looking to Louisiana before March 5 primary”

  1. Hi Danae. The study is not being done by the S&WB- we are at LSU Health Sciences Center, School of Public Health. You can email us at leadstudy@lsuhsc.edu and see info about us at: sph.lsuhsc.edu/leadstudy. We are not in any way associated with the S&WB- this is an independent investigation. We are eager to reach out to homes on streets undergoing S&WB pipe replacement and older high-risk homes which have not had full replacement of lead water service lines from the street to the home. Thanks for alerting the public about us! – Adrienne Katner, Assistant Professor, LSUHSC

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