Field for La. Supreme Court seat poised for expansion
Few would've predicted that more than three months out, the race for the vacant seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court would be shaping up as one of the most interesting and hotly contested to be decided by the fall ballot—but it is.
At least five candidates are vying for retiring Justice Kitty Kimball's seat, and several newly formed political action committees are quietly working behind the scenes to field additional candidates.
Among the latest is Citizens for Clean Water and Land, a PAC organized by Baton Rouge attorney John Carmouche and other "attorneys, landowners, and businessmen that want water and land treated fairly by the state," Carmouche says.
Though he won't talk about the number of members who have joined the PAC or how much money they have raised, he says it's a lot. And he adds the group plans to get involved not only in the Supreme Court race but in others as well.
"From legislators to attorney generals to anyone involved in protecting the land," Carmouche says. "We are not tree huggers. We are businesspeople. But we want to make sure that polluters are held responsible for their actions and that regulators are held responsible for enforcing regulations."
Carmouche says no single event led to the creation of the PAC. But he does mention several specific instances of groundwater contamination that have recently caused problems for landowners in Cameron, Vermillion and Concordia parishes, among others.
"There are places all over this parish where groundwater is contaminated, and the state and the oil companies still have not been held responsible," he says.
How the PAC intends to apply pressure to candidates to make sure they address those issues remains to be seen. But the group has hired political consultant Roy Fletcher, which suggests that when the PAC does settle on a candidate, a series of colorful campaign ads will hit the airwaves.
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