While Gov. Landry’s Immigration Executive Order may be a thinly veiled effort to be Trump’s VEEP, former LSPC Member Braxton may thwart his redistricting efforts to ordain Cleo “You have a paper bag?” Fields to obtain Graves’ Congressional seat.

Former Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) Member Calvin Braxton testifies before the Special Committee on the LSP in-custody death of Ronald Greene on May 11, 2022.  Braxton is strongly mulling a run for the Sixth District Seat in Louisiana for U. S. Congress in the Federal elections later this year now that a map for that District has been finalized.

When we published our September 20, 2023 “back-handed endorsement” of Jeff Landry for Governor, at the 16:48 mark of the video on the feature, Sound Off Louisiana founder, Robert Burns, said, “We have no idea what we’re going to get with Jeff Landry because they have made it clear that, ‘you’re not going to find out our specifics until we’re in office.'”

Well, we’re barely two weeks into a Landry administration, and we’re prepared to declare there were no specifics at all regarding improving Louisiana’s attractiveness to own and operate a small business, reduce occupational licensing burdens, and other matters which were (and are) crucial to cause the very formation of this blog.  That possibility was precisely Burns’ fear of supporting Landry, and it would appear those fears are going to be far more amplified than even he could imagine.

Why do we say that?  Five days before Landry was sworn into office, we saw a feature on ABC’s evening news which flatly said (both orally and on screen) that, “The Governors of Texas and Louisiana have placed immigrants on busses to New York and other cities such as Chicago.”  Well, John Bel Edwards was still Governor at the time, and we can only figure that, with only five (5) days until Landry was sworn in, Edwards felt it was not even worth trying to make the clarification.

We began to openly wonder then if Landry may be putting on the full-court press to try and make himself appear as the most attractive prospect for Trump’s VP on the GOP ticket for November.  With the exception of one individual with whom we shared our thoughts, we were told we are “nuts!”  [Sidebar:  Some of those same folk said we were “crazy” to state Landry would win in the primary with no need for a runoff last October].

We’ve been told by some key associates that Landry would never be so “stupid” as to think he’s a viable choice for Trump’s VP.  While we may agree regarding what level of intellect it would demonstrate on Trump’s part to actually choose Landry (Hint, President Trump:  It would be pretty dumb!), we have no doubt whatsoever that Landry is “stupid” enough to believe he is a viable contender for the position.

One individual whose opinion we value more than just about anyone’s said to Burns, “Look, Jeff Landry is abjectly unqualified to be President should Donald Trump die in office.”  Burns’ response to that individual was, “Jeff Landry is abjectly unqualified to be Governor of Louisiana, but you see where he is!”

Landry has always struck us as someone who relishes the adrenaline rush of the game (i.e. elections) much more so than the relative boredom of actually governing.  It’s why, in our opinion, Liz Murrill is now enjoying her ninth year as Attorney General for Louisiana, eight as de facto and just beginning her first as actual.

We believe our theory on Landry making himself more appealing to Trump for his VP gained even more steam when he signed this Executive Order on January 12, 2024 (four days after being sworn into office) calling for all Louisiana state agencies to tally up the costs of illegal immigration in order that Landry can, “send President Biden and them a bill.”  Days thereafter, Landry took to Fox news to grandstand on what we firmly believe is a concerted (and pretty thinly veiled) appeal to Trump to name him as VP.  We don’t want to deprive Landry of one second of his fame and glory, so let’s provide his Fox News video at this time:

Gov. Jeff Landry explains his rationale for signing an immigration order on Fox News with Neil Cavuto on January 17, 2024.

Now, should Trump pass on Landry as VP (as we believe he likely will), we are still perplexed at how certain publications (most notable The Advocate) openly speculate regarding Landry’s obvious effort to toss U. S. Congressman Garret Graves out on the street in favor of his self-proclaimed favorite Democrat to take over Graves’ seat, Cleo “You have a paper bag?” Fields.  The Advocate has warned that Graves may likely, “challenge Landry in his re-election effort in 2027.”

We don’t see any chance whatsoever that Landry sits still for a full four years even if his dream of being Trump’s VP selection goes down the tubes.  Those who know Landry closely know that he faults his advisors who, upon Landry’s Congressional Seat being eliminated in the aftermath of the 2010 Census, urged him to challenge then-U. S. Congressman Charles Boustany for his seat.  Landry preferred to sit tight and pursue his ultimate dream of being a U. S. Senator by challenging Cassidy in the 2014 U. S. Senate race against then-incumbent Mary Landrieu.  Landry lost badly to Boustany, and he has regretted listening to his then-advisors ever since.

Landry had a huge self-motivation for heavily seeking closed primaries in this most recent Special Session.  We believe there is no question whatsoever that Landry is going to challenge Cassidy in 2026, and without question, closed primaries in Louisiana, which are now the law of the land, will benefit Landry tremendously in knocking out Cassidy with only Republicans eligible to vote.  Landry had no objection to pushing the effective date of closed primaries to 2026 because that still meets his self-motivated goal of having closed primaries in place in the year we believe he is most certainly going to challenge Cassidy.

We should note that, in a compromise suggested by U. S. Senator John Kennedy, Landry agreed to amend the closed primary initiative to permit registered Independents to vote in either primary, Republican or Democrat (but obviously not both).  While we feel certain Landry ideally would like to have left it as Republican-only voters when Cassidy is challenged, it’s hard to rebuff a sitting U. S. Senator, particularly one as powerful and as liked as John Kennedy.  Even with Independents, we still believe Landry is a clear favorite to knock out Cassidy in 2026, and we fully expect him to challenge Cassidy and to become Louisiana’s next U. S. Senator.

Speaking of pushing Graves out onto the street, Graves has made it clear that he intends to run for reelection later this year.  He is staying mum on which District he’ll run in, however (one doesn’t have to reside in the District in which one chooses to run for Congress).  We’ve read publications indicating Graves cannot knock out any of the other Republicans; however, we respectfully disagree.  We believe he can, and in fact we’re willing to predict that he will, knock out U. S. Congresswoman Julia Letlow later this year.

Burns was so frustrated at the map drawn regarding even being able to ascertain which U. S. Congress District in which Burns now resides, that he called his State Senator’s office, Franklin Foil, to try and figure out just where the line splits East Baton Rouge.  There is a small carved-out section of EBR Parish which appears to be in Letlow’s District but it is far from clear.  At any rate, Sen. Foil’s Office was able to ascertain (upon obtaining Burns’ Ward and Precinct which Burns has known by heart for 23 years) that he is in fact in Letlow’s District.  Foil’s office even volunteered, “Your precinct is the dividing point.  You are just barely out of Graves’ redrawn District.”

The “Fields District” (so named because apparently Fields and Landry both assumed prospective challengers to Fields would simply back away and ordain whom Landry sought to obtain the office in proposing the map that he did), from all we’re hearing, may very likely not even go to Fields.  Why?  He’s got too much baggage!!  From the preceding feature:

In 1997, Fields was caught on an FBI surveillance tape stuffing about $20,000 in cash in his pockets after accepting it from then Governor Edwin Edwards. Fields was not charged with a crime.[7][8] It was later revealed that Fields had abused his Congressional franking privileges by sending newsletters to his district, at a cost of about $46,000, paid for by taxpayers, that were used for his gubernatorial bid.

We still recall the near-verbatim exchange between Edwin Edwards and Fields on the wire tap.  Let’s reproduce it at this time:

Fields:  “I visited with (U.S. Sen.) John Breaux last week.”

Edwards:  “You did.  How’d it go?”

Fields:  “I told him I was going to run against him.”

Edwards:  “You did what?!  What did he say?”

Fields:  “M@@!!& F@@($! about s— in his pants!”

Edwards:  “I bet he did!  The Republicans field any type of a decent candidate and you enter the race, he don’t make the runoff!”

Shortly thereafter, Fields politely asked if Edwards had a paper bag so Fields could secure all of the bills Edwards was paying him ($20,000 worth) to make his exit.

We’ll also point out that, when Fields declared his candidacy for the State Senate in 2019 (easier to get back to Washington as an “active player?”), he used his old Hollywood Street address in North Baton Rouge, even though Fields was widely known to reside at a fabulous home located in close proximity to the Country Club of Louisiana (Highland Crossing).

When Advocate reporter Will Sentell openly challenged Fields on that residency issue, Fields got pretty defensive in his response.  We welcome anyone to view that episode by  going to the 10:22 mark here.

Sometimes, we actually think (perhaps because of the nature of the type reporting we do) that our pipeline of knowledge is stronger in the Democratic Party in Louisiana than it is the Republican Party.  Whether that’s the case or not, we sure are hearing strong vibes that former Louisiana State Police Commission (LSPC) Member Calvin Braxton is “very seriously” considering challenging Fields.

What kind of problems may that cause for Fields?  Well, for one, Braxton is extremely well heeled and, if he wanted to, could likely self-fund his entire campaign.

Furthermore, though we kept his identity confidential until Braxton himself opted to go public, it was Calvin Braxton who was our key source enabling us to break the Ronald Greene matter on September 10, 2020.  Braxton provided us with incredible specificity to include the fact Master Trooper Chris Hollingsworth had turned his body camera off for an extended period during the Greene arrest.  Everything Braxton told us turned out to be spot on, and this blog and its founder will remain forever appreciative to Braxton for enabling us to produce that Ronald Greene feature on September 10, 2020!

One thing we feel certain of is that white Republican businessmen should certainly feel a strong commonality with Braxton even though he is a Democrat because his business success has been remarkable.

So, while we at Sound Off Louisiana won’t be able to actually vote for Braxton (Landry just barely swooped us into Letlow’s District), we will say this to the voters of Burns’ previous District 6:  We believe you can get someone a whole lot worse than Calvin Braxton as your next Congressman, but we have no confidence in being able to make the same statement about Cleo “You got a paper bag?” Fields.

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