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Story Archives: 'Tell them I lied'
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|'Tell them I lied'|
Earl Long was known for making big promises when he was a candidate for governor, which he was on three separate occasions.
During one of his gubernatorial campaigns Long pledged to repeal a 2-cent tax on theater admissions. Of course, theater owners and their lobby became avid supporters of whom they believed to be their new ally.
After he was elected, Long told the Legislature he opposed abolishing the tax. A disgruntled lobbyist who secured Long's pledge to repeal the theater tax approached the governor and demanded to know what he should tell his clients (theater owners) about the governor's change of heart.
"Tell them I lied," Long said.
About a week or two ago, Chet Traylor realized he had been lied to, too.
As you will recall, Traylor, a retired state Supreme Court justice, qualified last month to oppose Sen. David Vitter for the Republican nomination for this fall's U.S. Senate race. The primary election is Saturday, Aug. 28. A run-off, if necessary, will occur Oct. 2. The GOP nominee will face the Democratic Party's nominee (presumably Congressman Charlie Melancon) in the general election in November
Traylor's candidacy was considered a long-shot from the get go. Remember, Traylor qualified late in the day on the last day of qualifying. He hadn't raised a dime and had no organization to speak of on which to run a campaign for state-wide public office. Had Traylor gotten into the race a year ago, which he toyed with doing, the Senate race would have played out far differently. Mark my word.
Yet, there were signs that Traylor's bid to unseat Vitter could get off the ground. After all, Traylor qualified in light of pledges of support from Republican businessmen who feared the scandal-plagued Vitter would or will encounter more charges of personal wrongdoing. Supposedly, revelations of more wrongdoing on behalf of Vitter could hand his Senate seat to Melancon. Supposedly.
Movers and shakers in the political arena including many Republican state lawmakers and John Mamoulides, the respected former district attorney in Jefferson Parish, were among those who leaned on Traylor big-time to take on Vitter. Mamoulides also was one of the ones who made big promises about raising big money to fuel Traylor's campaign. Mamoulides never delivered.
John Georges, the wealthy New Orleans businessman who ran for governor in 2007, was in the mix, too. He told the Traylor camp that he could be counted on to deliver money that Traylor would need to finance an uphill campaign against a well-funded incumbent. Georges never delivered either.
There were others who told Traylor they were with him, including Jay Blossman, a former member of the Public Service Commission, and a host of business leaders from Acadiana. None of them delivered as well, except for Wayne Elmore, a respected Republican businessman from Lafayette.
In time, Traylor discovered he had been lied to, or jerked around. All of those fair weather supporters had lied to him except for Elmore and Traylor's closest supporter, Lev Dawson of Delhi. Those two men never flinched in exhibiting their support for a friend.
Over the course of the campaign, Traylor managed to raise less than $100,000, a pitiful sum of money for a state-wide campaign. Just about all of it was spent on radio advertising, particularly in the 3rd Congressional District in southern Louisiana where a hotly contested Republican primary election is expected to drive voter turn-out.
It goes without saying that Traylor's fundraising efforts were severely hampered once a lawsuit against Traylor filed by the sons of Traylor's late wife surfaced in the media. Though it's a private matter that should be dealt with privately, the lawsuit was news because of Traylor's position as a candidate for public office. Like it or not, that's the way it is.
Though his campaign for the Senate won't work out as he had hoped, Traylor gave it his all. That wasn't enough, but Traylor won't be the last candidate for public office whose campaign never got under way in earnest because of a chain of events he could not control.
And Traylor won't be the last candidate for public office who was lied to, either.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|