The latest Rodney Alexander Update
by Jerome Armstrong, Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:56:12 PM EDT
In his first full-length press conference since his switch, Alexander explained he was motivated in part by his belief that the candidacy filing by a fellow Democrat, African-American homemaker Zelma Tisa Blakes, threatened his chances of winning re-election if he stuck with that partys line. One of the most conservative House Democrats during his brief tenure, Alexander implied that the politically unknown Blakes may have been able to attract support among black activists who resented his decision not to endorse the Democratic presidential nominee, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. "I knew that there were several, among African-American leaders, who had been put out by me because of my failure or reluctance to endorse Sen. Kerry. And I had voted with [President Bush] on some of the issues that he and I agreed on," Alexander said. He added that he picked up some strong vibrations that he was losing support among liberals in the 5th Districts Democratic base. I didnt want to engage in a campaign where I was defending myself on those issues at every turn, he said. So I just decided that Id switch and run as a Republican.Said Alexander, striking another lie:"Absolutely not," Alexander said when asked if Republicans had suggested the late filing. "It was my idea." Alexander also said he was not promised any assignments by Republicans, such as a seat on the House Appropriations Committee. Alexander's entrance has also changed things for the Republican in the primary. Again, from the CQ:The only other Republican to file, former state Rep. Jock Scott, said in a Monday interview that he intended to stay in the race. But national Republican leaders made clear that they welcome Alexander to their caucus and intend to support him against all challengers. We will most definitely support Mr. Alexander and do everything we can to ensure his re-election to the House, said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC)...
Though the newly minted Republican in the race, Alexander indicated he planned to run to Scotts right in the race, saying he had a more conservative voting record. Alexander noted that, in 1984, while he was crossing party lines to back the presidential re-election of Republican Ronald Reagan, Scott attended the 1984 Democratic convention as a delegate pledged to then-Colorado Sen. Gary Hart.
And from today's NJ Hotline:RCC spokesperson Carl Forti, meanwhile, "promised his party's financial support" to Alexander. Forti said the cmte "already issued its first check," a $10K donation, to Alexander (Shields, Baton Rouge Advocate, 8/11). That means Alexander's opponent, Jock Scott (R) of Alexandria, won't receive "any party support." Monroe resident Zelma "Tisa" Blakes is Alexander's only Dem opponent.
But Scott said he "wouldn't be bullied" out of the race: "Efforts have been made from every angle to get me out of the race, and I've very politely told everyone that I'm in this race for a purpose and to see it through. ... Now people can look at the two candidates without the party affiliation separating us and make an impartial decision on who is the best candidate" (Hilburn, Monroe News Star, 8/11). Scott added, nat'l GOP officials "told me two weeks ago they would support me." But in the few days since Alexander jumped parties, they "have tried to cut off my campaign donations. ... This is the Republican Party doing this to a Republican. My answer to them is, what part of 'no' don't you understand?" (Anderson, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 8/11).The Baton Rouge Advocate has an editorial showing Alexander is feeling the heat: "I've seen some cowardly things in my career, but this is the worst," Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement. She is right. And more from the Advocate:Alexander was wounded by comments from his former Democratic colleagues about his switch, he said. He particularly cited U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who called him a coward. It took courage to make the switch, Alexander said. "To be called a coward, I don't think that's fair," he said. Alexander, whining about what's fair? Good, blood is being drawn, twist the dagger. Drag Rodney into the Louisiana courts.