It’s an unfortunate fact that state and local-level elections often pull in fewer voters than presidential elections. This is unfortunate because it is state-level elections that can either promote or fight against gerrymandering. As we head into Louisiana’s 2019 elections, the 2020 Census is only five months away. Those elected to the state legislature will be responsible for congressional and legislative redistricting lines in 2021. Republicans have long attempted to control the national vote at the state level. Here in Louisiana, they’re using a new tactic: adopting a pet “Democrat.”
On the surface, State House of Representative District 98 candidate Aimee Freeman seems like a solid choice as a Democrat. She’s earned the support of several liberal and centrist Louisiana Democrats and action groups. But she is also being heavily supported by several groups known for their support of Republican candidates in the state. In fact, for several, she is the only Democrat a group has chosen to support across the various races:
The Louisiana Federation for Children Action Fund
The Louisiana Federation for Children Action Fund (LFCAF) is a pro-charter Political Action Committee formerly chaired by Republican Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone. The Louisiana Federation for Children (LFC) is an affiliate of the American Federation for Children – the national school choice organization once chaired by Donald Trump’s current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
The LFCAF has been sending mailers in support of Freeman throughout her campaign:
The amount spent on the four mailers sent by LFCAF is estimated to be around $50k. This money was split between two media firms: People Who Think/Innovative Politics, a digital media firm that is “proud to have been a part of President Donald J. Trump’s historic victory,” and Go Big Media, Inc, which is owned by Phillip Stutts. According to the firm’s website, Stutts, ran “political operations for the Republican National Committee in 17 Western and Plains states over the course of two political cycles.”
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is known for its ties to big business in Louisiana, and they generally support Republican candidates. In fact, on the sample ballot released by the PAC for the 2019 elections, Aimee Freeman is the only Democrat receiving their support. LABI is also a supporter of pro-school choice education reform across Louisiana.
Associated Builders and Contractors
Freeman has received endorsements from Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) PAC. If you’re thinking that name sounds familiar, it’s because the group has been in the news a lot here in New Orleans. ABC is an anti-union group that commonly lobbies against stronger safety laws and training for construction workers. Citadel Builders, All-Star Electric, and King Company Partners – all firms associated with the recent collapse at the Hard Rock Hotel construction site – are members. Freeman is the only Democrat on the Orleans Parish ticket to receive an endorsement from ABC.
Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association (LMOGA)
The LMOGA is less-selective when it comes to party lines – they support a few Democrats on the Orleans Parish ticket, but only when there is no Republican available to support. Freeman is the only Democrat running against another Democrat to receive the support of the LMOGA – in other similar races, the group chose not to endorse a candidate at all.
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_