Dardenne v. Fayard: No attacks here

Published 11:43 pm Monday, October 4, 2010

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The lieutenant governor’s race has been whittled from an eight-person field to a head-to-head matchup between Republican Jay Dardenne and Democrat Caroline Fayard, but both candidates said they don’t expect to go on the attack.

Dardenne, Louisiana’s secretary of state from Baton Rouge, said he views the Nov. 2 election as a clear choice between two candidates with different philosophical and partisan positions. He said Fayard represents the national Democratic establishment and called himself a fiscal conservative.

‘‘I think it’ll be a very positive race, and we’ll both be delivering our messages, and I don’t expect it will take a negative turn,’’ Dardenne said.

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Fayard, a lawyer and political novice from New Orleans, described the race Monday as a choice between a candidate who’s been entrenched in politics for years and a newcomer who’s been working in business, law and teaching and offers new ideas.

‘‘I think I bring something different to the table and a new perspective,’’ she said. ‘‘I think mine is more about the future.’’

She disagreed that the race would fall along party lines or center on partisan disagreements, saying the lieutenant governor’s job isn’t about policymaking or tax positions but about leading Louisiana’s tourism and marketing efforts.

‘‘Louisiana tends to have a history of crossover voting. I think voters will consider that,’’ Fayard said. ‘‘Whether you’re a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ is less relevant. I think what’s important is an ‘L’ for Louisiana.’’

Fayard, who didn’t launch her campaign until this summer, will need to pick up far more support than Democrats received in Saturday’s election if she wants to win the job.

Altogether, the three Democratic candidates in the race received 36 percent of the vote.

But no candidate neared a majority in the crowded field. Dardenne advanced to the runoff with 28 percent, and Fayard received 24 percent, according to unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s office.

The campaign has stayed largely positive so far, with only one candidate in the primary election launching direct attacks against an opponent. State GOP Chairman Roger Villere lambasted Dardenne for his tax and gambling votes as a state senator. Villere’s campaign failed to gain traction, however, and he came in sixth Saturday.

Besides being first in the succession line if something happens to the governor, Louisiana’s lieutenant governor oversees the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and manages parks, museums, the state library and tourism efforts.

The election is to fill the remaining year of the term for Mitch Landrieu, who left the post when he became mayor of New Orleans.

In Saturday’s election, Fayard’s strengths came in New Orleans, where she easily outpaced her opponents, and in several parishes in north Louisiana. She won six parishes of the state’s 64. Dardenne led in 17 parishes, including several near his hometown of Baton Rouge.

The two candidates were the highest money-raisers in the race. Dardenne raised nearly a million dollars since announcing his candidacy, while Fayard raised $350,000 and pumped another $440,000 of her own cash into the campaign.

Both ran the most visible ad campaigns on TV as well.