Jun 092016
Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus

The race to replace retiring 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Max Tobias is already heating up with three lower court judges – Criminal Court Judge Laurie White and Civil District Court Judges Tiffany Chase and Regina Bartholomew Woods – tossing their hats in the ring. Attorney Kevin Guillory who previously ran for a Criminal Court judgeship is also campaigning.

White said yesterday that she is definitely in the race, though she has been “immobile” for more than 4 weeks with a sprained ankle. White has been getting around with a knee roller, crutches, and a boot which may well change the definition of “running” for office.

Chase had a well-attended fundraiser last week where many of her fellow judges and lawyer friends came out to show their support. Among those present were for Sheriff Paul Valteau, Joe Bruno, Phil Whitman, Randy Smith, Gibby Andry, Kim Boyle, Sharonda Williams, John Litchfield, Rico Alvendia, James Williams, Tony Clayton, Gary Gambel, Peter Sperling, Lynn Luker, and pollster Silas Lee. Other consultants on her team include Karen Carvin and Deno Seder.

Bartholomew Woods’ has rounded up endorsements from an impressive group of more than 30 elected or former elected officials as well as a 130-person campaign committee of lawyers and civic leaders. Even if only the campaign committee shows up for the June 16th fundraiser at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, she’ll have a full house.

Co-chairs of Bartholomew Woods’ campaign include long-time supporter Congressman Cedric Richmond, Clerk of Court Dale Atkins, Coroner Jeffrey Rouse, former Senator Diana Bajoie, former Clerk of Court Dan Foley and others. Also expect to see Kriste Talton Utley, Greg DiLeo, Gerald Calogero, Jim Garner, Sundiata Haley, Chip Forstall, Nat Kiefer Jr., Tony Russo, Chris Coulon, Clint Smith, Freddie Yoder, Cliff Cardone, Shaun Mena, and Cesar Burgos. Her campaign consultants include Teddlie Stuart and William Augustus Schultz.

Although the field is already crowded, it is still possible that other candidates will enter the race. Qualifying takes place July 20-22.


Even though Republican nominee Donald Trump got off to a rocky start in Louisiana, the state’s Republican leadership realize Trump’s candidacy may help them elect more down-ballot candidates this fall. While there are still more Democratic than Republican voters in Louisiana, the gap has closed significantly since June 2015.

A new analysis of the state’s registered voters shows that the number of Republican voters has steadily increased while the number of Democratic registered voters have decreased. This shift is not just a case of Democrats changing their registration to Republican or “Other”. In fact, the number of new Republican registrants is far greater than the decrease in Democrat and increase in “Other” registration.

Within the last 12 months, 50,268 voters have joined Louisiana’s Republican party. The Democratic party lost 6,126 voters. The number of “0ther” voters (Independents, Libertarians, etc.) has also increased by 7,538.

The political consultant who prepared this analysis believes that Republican registration will continue to grow as the presidential election day draws closer. “For several months now, Donald Trump has been saying that he is drawing voters to the party. This appears to be true in Louisiana,” explained the consultant.

Candidates attractive to Republican voters in the U.S. Senate race, the House of Representatives races across the state as well as parish and local races will all benefit from the increase in Republican registration. This change in registration could make the difference in tight races.

October 11, 2016, is the last day to register to vote before the November, 2016 elections.


City Council President Jason Williams quickly filled his coffers last night at a standing-room-only fundraiser at Purloo, the delightful restaurant inside the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Williams is said to be considering a race for mayor rather than running for re-election to the City Council.

Many of Williams’ original supporters – the DA, judges, lawyers, and other Criminal Court officials – were in attendance as well as newer friends like Mayor Mitch Landrieu, accompanied by wife Cheryl. Other elected officials present included Councilmembers Nadine Ramsey and Jared Brossett and Coroner Jeffrey Rouse.

The business community was ably represented by long-time Leslie Jacobs, Jay Lapeyre, Henry Coaxum, Dwight Barnes, Moe Bader, Kelisha Garrett, and Michael Hecht. Also in the crowd were Ellis Marsalis, Darlene Jacobs, Norma Jane Sabiston, Ronnie Burke, Frank DeSalvo, Sue Lampton, Andre Kelly, Bill Schultz, Caroline Fayard, Keith Pittman, Robert Jenkins, Roz Peychaud, Norman Robinson, James Carter, Bill Kearney, Eric Bay, Carol Asher, Barbara Lacen-Keller, Bob Ellis, and Bill Broadhurst.

While the election for mayor still almost two years away, political players are already asking if Councilmember Stacy Head will qualify. Always popular with a broad cross-section of voters, Head would be a formidable candidate. At this moment, insiders say, Head is leaning toward spending more time with her two children. But in politics, never say never.


Sidney Torres would be a Trump-like candidate for mayor of New Orleans. He could predominately self-fund his own campaign. He would be attractive to Millennials and to people who appreciate his personal efforts to fight crime. But unlike The Donald, Torres would be running in a majority African-American city where his message would have to resonate with a significant number of African-American voters. That would be much easier for a candidate like Councilmember LaToya Cantrell who is also looking at the race. As an African-American woman in a city where that demographic forms the largest voting block, Cantrell would have the bigger inside advantage.


It’s never easy to remove a sitting elected official unless of course he or she has been convicted of a serious crime. While some of State Rep Neil Abramson’s critics think Abramson’s vanishing act last Monday regarding House Bill 2 make him worthy of a recall, chances are slim that a campaign will be successfully mounted.

Perhaps his detractors are more focused on preventing Abramson from seeking the State Senate seat currently held by Karen Carter Peterson, who will be term limited next time. With the election several years away, no other candidates have yet expressed an interest in Carter Peterson’s seat.

Danae Columbus has had a 30-year career in public relations, including stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and 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.

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