Viewpoint: Cedric Richmond’s path to the White House began on the UTNO picket line

Louisiana Second Congressional District Rep. Cedric Levan Richmond, who recently became the highest ranking Black staff member to join President-elect Joseph Biden’s administration, was introduced to politics at a very early age. Richmond was just 5 years old in 1978 when his mother, Maple Richmond Gaines — a dedicated New Orleans public school teacher — would wake him and his brother Sidney Jr. before dawn to accompany her to the picket line, where the United Teachers of New Orleans were striking for higher wages and better working conditions. Richmond would hold up a sign while his mother, the strike leader, made sure no cafeteria workers or other early arrivers entered the school building. “Cedric’s father, Sidney Richmond Sr., was an entrepreneur and very involved in the community,” Richmond Gaines said. “Although he died when Cedric was 7 years old, he left an impression on Cedric about the importance of community service.”

Richmond’s stepfather, Ulis Gaines, was an electrical contractor who imparted a similar message, Richmond Gaines said.

GOP challenger to Rep. Richmond may be Florida’s mysterious “Super PAC Man”

A host of prominent New Orleans Republicans said this week that they have never heard of the lone challenger so far to U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, Josue Larose, who filed to run as a member of their party on Wednesday. But the hard-to-find candidate shares a name and a former address with a perennial candidate in Florida the political press there dubbed “Super PAC Man,” whose thousands of alleged campaign-finance violations and hyperactive registration of odd political action committees drew the tongue-in-cheek “admiration” of political prankster Stephen Colbert. “Not familiar”
Little information is available locally about Larose. The Secretary of State’s website only lists him as having filed Wednesday using a Mid-City post-office box as his address and identifying himself as a black male Republican. Multiple calls Thursday to the phone number listed with his filing went unanswered, and messages left at the voice mailbox there were not returned.

36 hours Uptown: Public meetings and events

A city planning hearing on an Irish Channel corner store, the final meeting of the year for the Lusher Charter School board and an arts forum sponsored by a Congressman are among the meetings and events of interest on deck in Uptown New Orleans. On Monday, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond is hosting a reception for the Congressional arts competition and a forum on the arts at the George and Leah McKenna Museum of African-American Art. Also on Monday, the Lusher Charter School governing board will hold its final scheduled meeting for the academic year. The planning commission meeting Tuesday includes a request to reopen a corner store at 548 Jackson Avenue as a sandwich shop, which received the support of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association earlier this year despite neighbors’ misgivings about loitering and crime around the store in the past. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the St.

Richmond’s strong showing echoed in Uptown precincts

State Rep. Cedric Richmond’s dominance in Saturday’s four-way Democratic primary election was also on display in Uptown precincts, according to an analysis of results posted by the Secretary of State’s office. Not only did Richmond win each of the Uptown wards with more than 50 percent, he also took nearly every individual precinct. Among the results:

Richmond’s 61-percent victory district-wide over his closest competitor, state Rep. Juan LaFonta’s 21 percent, was similar to results in wards 10, 11, 12, 13 and 17, which all came within a point or two of the same margins. Only in wards 14 and 16, which run roughly between Jefferson and South Carrollton, did LaFonta pull closer to 30 percent and hold Richmond to the low 50s. Out of nearly 100 precincts that vote in these wards, Richmond lost only four to LaFonta: Ward 11’s precinct 8, Ward 12’s precinct 6, Ward 14’s precinct 17 and Ward 16’s precinct 5.

Election brings out only the most dedicated of voters

An unusual election with a short slate of candidates was generally expected to bring few voters to the polls, and Saturday’s wet weather is likely pushing turnout even lower, election workers at Uptown precincts said. At the New Orleans School for Math and Science, only a dozen voters had made it through the drizzle by noon to cast ballots at each of the two 14th Ward precincts there. “Both precincts are usually very well represented,” said poll worker Jane Fleshman during a break between voters. “The weather is having a little effect, but we weren’t expecting much turnout anyway.” Seven precincts across three wards have polling places at Eleanor McMain High School on S. Claiborne, but not many more voters were there.

National Democrats line up for Richmond

It’s a long-established storyline of the 2010 Congressional elections that national Democrats see U.S. Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao as one of the most vulnerable Republican seats in Congress, and last week they chose state Rep. Cedric Richmond as their candidate to do so. On Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Richmond’s selection into the “Red to Blue” program, which highlights the challengers they believe have the best chances of winning so that Democratic donors around the country can channel their donations into competitive races. The committee noted Richmond’s “strong early fundraising” in their announcement. “Cedric Richmond has come out of the gate strong and built a lot of early excitement for his campaign to put this seat in the hands of someone who reflects this district and supports President Obama,” committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen said in the announcement. “Red to Blue will give him the financial and structural edge he needs to remain on the road to victory in November and ensure the people of this New Orleans based district are represented by someone who shares their values.”

Cao’s challengers keep pace in spending, lag in fundraising

The two state legislators vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao both dug into their war chests in April, May and June to keep pace with the incumbent on campaign spending, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed this week. State Rep. Cedric Richmond actually outspent the Congressman by about $20,000, doling out $113,293 to Cao’s $91,444 in expenditures. State Rep. Juan LaFonta was right behind Cao with $90,672 in spending. Cao, however, was the only one of the three candidates to raise more than he spent and grow his war chest in the second quarter, receiving $139,304 to finish with $359,106 in the bank. Richmond raised $84,695 to finish with $250,222, and LaFonta raised $66,809, dropping his campaign account to $30,407 heading into July and the Aug.

Cao posts second-quarter fundraising

U.S. Rep. Ahn “Joseph” Cao raised $139,304 in April, May and June, spent $91,444 and has $359,106 remaining in his war chest for the Nov. 2 general election, according to campaign-finance reports filed Thursday. None of Cao’s four Democratic challengers or three independents have filed their second-quarter reports yet, though the first quarter reports showed state Rep. Cedric Richmond on almost even footing with Cao at the end of March. Cao’s top Uptown contributors:

Richard Colton Jr.,    $3,086
Dr. Elizabeth S. French,   $2,400
David Darragh, Reilly Foods,  $2,000
Matthew S. French, physician,  $1,000
Roland J. French, retired physician, $1,000
Frank Walk, Liskow & Lewis,  $1,000
William Goldring, Magnolia Marketing,  $500
Dr. and Mr Gregory Guerra, dentist, $500
Rose Lebreton, Steeg Law,  $250
Thomas B. Lemann,   $250
William Murphy, Canal Barge,  $250

Cao also  spent $2,508 on campaign materials with Laredo Printing on Magazine Street.

Richmond’s war chest approaches Cao’s (updated)

While U.S. Rep. Ahn “Joseph” Cao still holds a slight fundraising lead in his bid for a second term, state Rep. Cedric Richmond has nearly as much to spend as Cao in this year's race for the New Orleans-based seat in Congress. Uptown donors have contributed more than $25,000 to the Congressional race since 2009, campaign finance records show. Richmond must first face colleague state Rep. Juan LaFonta in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary. The winner faces Cao on Nov.