December 15, 2003


Sen. Breaux Will Retire: La. Democrat Is 5th Southerner to Step Down This Year (David Espo, December 15, 2003, The Associated Press)

Louisiana Sen. John Breaux, a leading Democratic centrist during three terms in office, has told fellow lawmakers he intends to retire next year rather than seek re-election, officials said Monday.

Breaux's retirement would make him the fifth southern Democrat to step down in 2004, further compounding the party's difficulties in its struggle to gain a Senate majority.

Breaux, 59, scheduled an announcement in Baton Rouge. Several officials speaking on condition of anonymity said he informed several fellow lawmakers of his intentions. [...]

His departure is expected to prompt two members of the state's House delegation to jump into the 2004 Senate race, Reps. Chris John, a Democrat, and David Vitter, a Republican.

Republicans have never won a Louisiana Senate seat since Reconstruction.

Unfortunately, to win his campaign slogan needs to be: "A dark-complected Aryan, not black".

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 15, 2003 3:02 PM

Would Breaux consider it if offered the Dem Veep spot for 2004? And would it matter?

Posted by: kevin whited at December 15, 2003 3:05 PM

Breaux is well regarded by his Republican peers,he's supported them rather often,that makes him radioactive to the Dem party base,so no VP slot for him.

Posted by: M. at December 15, 2003 3:19 PM

Kevin - interesting question. Then again Edwards is supposed to be the Dem covering the South.
If I remember correctly Bush tried to get Breaux for his Cabinet after the election. Maybe Breaux will take a position in the Cabinet.
As for the LA Senate race Jindel would seem to be a good choice given his near miss for the governorship. And is Foster, the recent term limited GOP governor, an option?

Posted by: AWW at December 15, 2003 3:25 PM

No VP is radioactive if he can help his party win. And Dean will be looking for a centrist southern VP for balance. He has to compete in the states bordering the Mississippi River (LA, AR, MO, IL, IA, MN, WI) to have a chance, and Breaux would help.

Posted by: pj at December 15, 2003 3:54 PM

Perhaps,but would Breaux accept being an ornament in a far left admin?
I'm convinced Dean is going to be the man and I don't see his people giving a conservative like Breaux much respect,much less any real role.Edwards would fill the centerist role just as well and as he's never been a real power in his own right,I can see him accepting the mushroom treatment.After all,he'll never be nominated and he's not running for re-election to the senate.Where is he going to go after next year?

Posted by: M. at December 15, 2003 4:37 PM

I think the GOP has to be do anything it can to win this seat. LA has proven that any strategy that sounds good to a GOP outsider is likely not to work. I am afraid that a Jindal run is in that category, at this point. I think the LA GOP should find the strongest Bubba candidate it can find and remind the electorate that two Democratic senators and one novice (and pretty lame) Democratic governor is not the best way to get all that patronage that seems to drive LA voters. Why aren't Tauzin's and Baker's names being circulated? They are pretty effective inside the beltway players.

Posted by: MG at December 15, 2003 5:01 PM

Tauzin is the chair of the most powerful committee in the House. He won't leave.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 15, 2003 5:23 PM

Doesn't Tauzin have his eye on Speaker?

Posted by: oj at December 15, 2003 5:27 PM

I thought Tauzin had his eye on Jack Valenti's job.

Posted by: James Haney at December 15, 2003 6:33 PM

Maybe I'm excessively pessimistic, but I find this very disappointing news. After the Landrieu-Terrill disaster and Jindal demise, I'm extremely skeptical that the GOP will win this election and and I know that the next Dem GOP Senator won't be anywhere near as rational as Breaux was.

Posted by: MarkD at December 15, 2003 9:35 PM

MarkD -that is a legitimate concern given the LA GOP's penchant for losing winnable races (see 2002 Senate, 2003 Governor). LA has been drifting into the GOP camp (note the 2003 Dem governor candidate ran well to the right of the national Dems) and Bush should easily win LA in '04 which may help bring in a GOP senator.

Posted by: AWW at December 15, 2003 11:47 PM