AM Newscall July 30

Will one of the richest men in Louisiana jump into the governor’s race in 2019? Connor Ferrill talks to LaPolitics about the new rumors.

Cut 1 (30)  “I’m Becca Dill”


The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office has uncovered what they believe is a dog fighting operation, following a lengthy investigation.  Kevin Barnhart has the story.

Cut 2 (32) ”I’m Kevin Barnhart” 


A formerly fringe position has taken off as a new Democratic norm in Louisiana. Matt Doyle has more.

Cut 3 (30) “I’m Matt Doyle”


Jim Bernhard rumors are swirling again as reports the former Shaw Group CEO is considering a run for the governor’s mansion in 2019. Bernhard now operates energy investment firm Bernhard Capital Partners. LaPolitics Publisher Jeremy Alford says Bernhard has the capital on hand to make it a competitive race.

Cut 4 (11) “pretty quickly”

And while Alford says it’s too early to know just what party a potential Bernhard campaign would run under, his current affiliation and past political history makes it pretty clear…

Cut 5 (09) “PACs.”

Alford says he’s heard reports that backers of Governor Edward’s have reached out to Bernhard to convince him not to run, which Alford says is indicative of how much of a challenge the upcoming contest will be for the blue governor in a red state.

Bernhard has not publicly commented on whether he would like to challenge Edwards, but Alford says more than a year out, there’s only one notable potential candidate who says they would like to take a crack at the Governor.

Cut 6 (09) “campaign staffers.”


According to a new Gallup survey that polled just over a thousand adults, most Americans see vapor cigarettes as better than traditional cigarettes, while marijuana was seen as the safest smoking product of all.  Government agencies are chiming in, with the FDA still a bit hazy about its stance on vaping, while the CDC says more than 10% of high school students vape.  Tobacco treatment specialist, Angel Lopez, says among the experts, vaping’s health risks are debatable.

Cut 7 (11) “…also risks involved.”

Lopez says vaping introduces new chemicals, ones not present in traditional cigarettes, which are inhaled into the lungs.

Cut 8 (08)  “…its similar to COPD”

Lopez says she doesn’t often see vapor products as a successful smoking cessation tool.  She recommends going with any of the other options.

Cut 9 (05)  “…Chantix or Wellbutrin.”


The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office has uncovered what they believe is a dogfighting operation, following a lengthy investigation.  The initial tips from the public began to surface in April, but Capt. Tommy Carnline says it wasn’t until recently that the agency received the intel they needed to make the discovery.

Cut 10 (09)   “…pin down an area.”

Carnline says the agency discovered seventeen pit bulls on the property.

Cut 11 (07) “…food or shelter.” 

Carnline says an arrest has already been made in the case and expects more to come as the investigation is ongoing.

Cut 12 (07) “…it’s also inhumane.”


Medicare for All may have been a fringe position just two years ago, but an analysis of Louisiana’s 2018 Democratic congressional candidates shows nearly unanimous support for the policy. 3rd district candidate Mimi Methvin, who’s running against Congressman Clay Higgins, says it may take some time to build consensus for a Medicare expansion, but says the Affordable Care Act as is isn’t enough.

Cut 13 (10)  “people suffer.” 

Support from the candidates for Medicare for All comes in two flavors: allowing people to buy into the program, or blanket coverage from birth, with nine of the eleven candidates backing at least one of the two versions. 2nd District incumbent Cedric Richmond has crafted legislation for a Medicare buy-in.

1st District candidate Andie Saizon, who’s running against Congressman Garret Graves, says the country needs to take corporate profit out of the health care equation.

Cut 14 (09) “a problem.”

Medicare for All gained a more substantial national profile after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ run in the 2016 Democratic Primary. A March poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 59 percent of people in support of automatic Medicare coverage for all citizens. This included a majority of Democrats and Independents, as well as a third of Republicans.

But the progressive Democratic push for national healthcare may not mean much in the ruby red Bayou State, which is dominated at nearly every level by the Republican Party. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says Medicare for All may be popular with voters, but it’s unlikely to result in any fall upsets in Louisiana.

Cut 15 (10) “in trouble.”

Over the last three decades statewide elected Democrats have replaced the brown pelican on the Louisiana’s endangered species list. A March Quinnipiac Poll shows national favorability ratings for the Democratic Party at 31 percent, and Pinsonat says until that changes they’ll be weighed down by the letter next to their names.

Two Democratic candidates, Larry Rader and Jessee Fleenor, could not be reached for the story.