Young Democrat Announces For Louisiana Senate Seat

By John Celock

A 37-year-old Democratic lawyer who lost a bid for Louisiana lieutenant governor in 2010 has announced a bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Caroline Fayard, a daughter of a prominent fundraiser in Democratic circles, announced Thursday that she would seek the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R). Fayard is the first Democrat to announce in what is becoming a crowded field to replace Vitter, who is stepping down after being defeated for governor last year. Fayard’s Senate bid comes six years after she ran a competitive race for the lieutenant governorship.

“Government can’t do everything and it shouldn’t try,” Fayard said in an announcement video. “It should work for us and not the other way around.”

Fayard, who runs a law practice in New Orleans, is the daughter of Calvin Fayard, a prominent fundraiser for state and national Democrats who is close to former President Bill Clinton. Clinton campaigned for Fayard in her 2010 campaign. Fayard was a White House intern during the Clinton Administration.

Fayard burst on to the political scene in 2010 when she ran in a special election for a one-year term as lieutenant governor after Democrat Mitch Landrieu stepped down to become New Orleans mayor. Finishing a competitive second in the state’s bipartisan open primary, she faced off with then Secretary of State Jay Dardenne (R) in the November general election. Fayard received 42 percent in what had been expected to be a Republican dominated race for the state’s number two post.

In addition to Fayard, five Republicans; U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming, former U.S. Rep. Joe Cao, state Treasurer John Kennedy and state Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta have entered the Senate race. Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R), a former lieutenant governor who lost the 2015 governor’s race, is considering entering either the Senate contest or launching a congressional bid.

Fayard’s campaign comes as Louisiana Democrats have experienced a resurgence with last year’s election of Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). Edwards’ victory came after he campaigned as a conservative Democrat and faced off against Vitter, who was dealing with fallout from a decade old prostitution scandal. Fayard, who is pro-life, is positioning herself as a conservative Democrat in the Edwards mold. Edwards is the only Democrat holding statewide office in Louisiana.

Fayard is part of a growing amount of Senate candidates under the age of 40 this year. In Missouri, Secretary of State Jason Kander is the presumptive Democratic nominee against Sen. Roy Blunt (R), while in Arkansas, former U.S. Attorney Connor Eldridge is the presumptive Democratic nominee against Sen. John Boozman (R). In Florida, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is locked in a competitive Democratic primary for an open seat, while in Colorado, former state Rep. Jon Keyser has entered a competitive GOP primary to challenge Sen. Michael Bennet (D). Former U.S. Justice Department speechwriter Chrys Kefalas is seeking the GOP nomination for an open Senate seat in Maryland, while Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Rob Portman (R) in Ohio.

While this is her second race for statewide office, Fayard used her video to paint herself as a product of Louisiana who wants to help the state. She frequently cited her upbringing in Livingston Parish during the video.

“I am not a career politician or a perfect person,” she said. “I am not running for Senate because I want a better parking spot on Capitol Hill or I am a guy who thinks it is his turn.”