One way to send a message (like in all capitals) to a future political opponent is to open a campaign with a well-publicized and very well-attended fund-raiser. And that’s exactly what Caddo District Judge Scott Crichton did at his campaign kickoff recently. If Supreme Court Justice Jeff Victory really thought that Crichton would be just a talking head, then Victory may want to reassess his upcoming opponent.
It’s a rare occasion when a local political campaign cranks up some 17 plus months before the action election – and a year before the qualifying period. But with Judge Crichton, it’s a win or “go to the house” election next fall. His term on the Caddo bench ends in 2014 – and he cannot run to retain his seat and for the Louisiana Supreme Court at the same time. Crichton as opted to pursue the state’s top court.
Crichton’s event drew more political heavyweights than any local fund-raising soiree in many, many years. The 500-plus crowd included many fellow judges: Minden City Court Judge John Campbell; 26th Judicial District Judges Mike Nerren and Ford Stinson; Caddo Judges Roy Brun, Eugene Bryson (retired), Kathryn Dorroh, Ramon Lafitte, Mike Pitman and Frank Thaxton (retired); and Second Circuit Judges Jeanette Garrett and Frances Pitman. Law enforcement officials present included Bienville Sheriff John Balance, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittingong, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator and Shreveport City Marshall Charlie Caldwell.
Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott and Bossier First Assistant District Attorney Lane Pittard also attended along with former Caddo D.Ap. Paul Carmousche. Other elected officials at the event included Shreveport City Councilman Jeff Everson and Sam Jenkins, Caddo Parish Commission members Matthew Linn and Ken Epperson, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, and Caddo School Board member Dottie Bell, along with former Shreveport Mayor Keith Hightower.
Community and business leaders in the crowd included Dr. C.O. Simpson, Delton Harrison, Brady Blade, NAACP President Lloyd Thompson, Paul Broussard, Barry Busada, Bob Brown, Jeff Cole, Don Horton and James Madden. Barristers at the event included Bernard Johnson, Jim McMichael, Greg Barro, Ted Caston, Dannye Malone and Don Weir. The medical community was also well represented: Dr. Larry Allen, Dr. Tommy Palmer, Dr. Donald Posner, Dr. Mike Haynie and Doctors Carol and David Clemens, among others.
Speakers giving endorsements to Crichton were Debbie Martin, Jim McMichael and Don Horton, Jim McMichael and Don Horton. Crichton’s well-scripted event included the announcement of a campaign headquarters (752 Southfield Road) along with opening and closing prayers by Pastor Alston and Bishop Brandon.
Victory has announced that he will seek re-election, although many doubt that he will actually qualify in June of next year. He can retire with a very generous pension and keep his campaign funds that can be doled out to candidates and political causes of his choosing. Victory’s age (68 next year) and his health will undoubtedly be factors in his campaign decisions as well as Crichton’s determination, political strength and campaign financing.
Although some believe that Victory can raise more money that Crichton (reportedly from South Louisiana), few politicos think Victory will actually go head to head against Crichton. There’s little doubt that Crichton will have very strong black support, and his fund-raiser reflected the diversity of his supporters. Crichton will no doubt maintain a full court press during the next year, and his prospects of success are very high.