Jason France, Candidate BESE District 6

 

*This blog was originally posted on the Crazy Crawfish blog written by Jason France, candidate for BESE District 6. Please visit his blog to find out how much you don’t know about what is happening in education.

Jason FranceKathy Edmonston, my opponent in the District 6 BESE race, just released a poll that her political consultant ran that shows her tied with the incumbent Chas Roemer, me at 6%, and the undecided at 44%.

This is not the first time I’ve seen or heard these numbers.  The first time I heard them was Thursday August 20th when some of my friends reported that people were contacting them them about this poll, and telling them they needed to stop backing me.  They were being told that I was helping Chas Roemer (who has not declared his candidacy by the way) win, by staying in the race.  (Coincidentally? This was the same day I was endorsed by the NPE (Network for Public Education) and Diane Ravitch, which probably impacted the timing of their release of their poll numbers to me and my supporters.)

I was a bit hurt by this.  Kathy and I had agreed to run a clean campaign on issues and let the voters decided based on our stances, not money, or attacks, or dirty tricks.  I had agreed to this originally with her friend and longtime supporter on the Ascension Parish Republican PEC Kathryn Goeppelt, who asked me to pray with her over our lunch where we met to set some ground rules.  While Kathryn was clearly running the show and doing most of Kathy’s speaking for her at every event I attended, I subsequently confirmed this arrangement with Kathy Edmonston.

I had a significant online presence and following at the time and Kathy had nothing really on Facebook, or anywhere else.  I could have used my early advantage to question the timing of Kathy’s entrance into the race, a mere 4 months or so ago after it was rumored Chas would not be running. I did not even bring up very legitimate questions such as:

“Where we you the last  four years that I have fought Common Core, John White and Chas Roemer?”

“Where were you, Kathy, when I spoke at numerous Common Core rallies, testified and helped crush the data sharing nightmare that was inBloom?”

“Where will you be when this race is over?”

I did not ask those questions and perhaps that was a mistake on my part.  I like to take people at their word and I tend to be too trusting of people who claim to be motivated by faith.  The first time I met Kathy at a rally this year (after the crawfish stunt I helped plan where legislators were given crawfish to counter the pink unicorn Lane Grigsby stunt) she told me she was entering the race because she had “prayed about it” and believed this was what God wanted her to do.  After how she and her folks have treated me I’m beginning to wonder if maybe she misheard?

You see, her political consultant Chris Comeaux, had contacted me in July and offered to help me with my campaign.  He claimed at the time to be a Libertarian, although I subsequently learned from Kathy he was a “well respected and very informed” Republican operative.  I did not know at the time he was already employed and being paid by Kathy Edmonston and Chris did nothing to give me any other impression except that he was a professional political consultant looking for work.  I shared perhaps too much with him, which I’m sure he then used against me to help further Edmonston’s campaign.  Her subsequent campaign expense report, filed later that month, showed that she had actually paid Comeaux at least as early as June 30th. . .

CHRIS COMEAUX
530 Lakeland
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
06/30/2015 Facebook Advertising $ 722.00

. . .well before before he contacted me with the below.

  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 06:15 PM Message : Jason. My name is Chris Comeaux.
  • I’m a conservative/libertarian political consultant in Livingston Parish. I wanted to talk to you about your race for BESE
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 06:18 PM
  • Message : I am Elbert Guillory’s consultant. I made all the videos that have made him a national figur
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 06:39 PM
  • Message : Hey Chris, sorry i missed your call.  I gave you a call back but must have missed you.  I will be available to chat until 7 tonight or perhaps we can touch base tomorrow?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 07:52 PM
  • Message : I think I can really help you
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 07:51 PM Message : Can we get together in the next few days maybe?
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Jul 02, 2015 08:35 PM Message : Ok sounds good.

Comeaux never revealed in text or over the subsequent phone call that he was working for Edmonston already but he discussed strategy and offered to make a video for me like he had done for Senator Elbert Guillory who he did mention was one of his clients.  (Other clients he’s told me about also include Barry Ivy, Lenar Whitney, Jeff Landry and Beth Mizell.)

The next time I heard from Chris was when he called me August 20th to tell me he had run this poll, and that the best thing for me was to drop out of the race.  To say I was a bit taken aback was an understatement.

I realized at this point I had been scammed.

Chris Comeaux then claimed I was ruining Kathy’s chances by staying in, and he hinted that if I dropped out now there might be a more professional team waiting in the wings to help me out with a different campaign – if only I dropped out of this one.  I asked him repeatedly when he started working for Kathy and if she knew he was contacting me this way.  He declined to answer but he continued to suggest I had a future in politics – if only I dropped out now.

  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : I did a poll on your race
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM Message : And?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : Kathy and Chas are tied at 25% each
  • You’re at 6%
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : I’d like to sit down with you and talk about all of this.
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : You may accidentally ensure Chas’ victory by running
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : I was running first. The same could be said about Kathy.
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : But people that know you say you are very smart and you have a future if you had some help from experienced people and that’s why I’m reaching out to you
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : So does Kathy know you are trying to get me to drop out?
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : Or have you gone rogue?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : Unless you raise 100k all you can possibly do is help Chas win
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : I’m not offering you anything on this race. I’m talking about reshaping your future
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : I’m just saying, think objectively on what you are really doing
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : You almost appear like a plant from Lane, although I know that isn’t true
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : But do you see that by running with no money that you’re just helping Chas win
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : And I want to see you make some moves and pop back up in next couple years in a different role with a professional campaign team
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015
  • Message : Everyone wins. Right now, only Chas & Lane will win
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : You’re helping Lane
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : You don’t mean to be
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015 
  • Message : Chas win. Lane is applauding you
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM
  • Message : I do want Kathy to win and will go help her
  • Sent to 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM
  • Message : So does Kathy know you are contacting me?
  • Received from 2259784823 on Thu Aug 20, 2015  PM
  • Message : I don’t know

I reached out to some of Kathy’s team I knew before her run to ask about this Chris Comeaux guy, but they did not respond, so I contacted Kathy (8/25/15) to ask her.  Kathy was very guarded, not at all what I expected from an “ally”, and refused to answer.  I went from thinking I was going to be able to warn her that this guy was scamming her behind her back, to knowing he was following her orders.  I continued to ask about Chris, and when he started working for her, and got this response:

  • 8/25/2015
  • mo [Comeaux] is a well respected and very informed person in the Republican Party in this state.  I have been pleased in my dealings with him. I know that he an other Republicans that he works with are most interested in getting Chas Romer (sic) off the Bessie (sic) board.

When I asked Kathy Edmonston if she authorized him to contact me, to pretend to offer his services while claiming to be a Libertarian and while already working for her, she did not respond directly.  Instead, 20 minutes later, I got a call from none other than Chris Comeaux.

The first thing out of  Comeaux’s mouth was: “I never told you directly I was looking to work for you.  Don’t you think the best thing you could do for yourself and your career is to drop out now?”

I shared some rather choice words with him, that got the attention of some of my coworkers, told him never to contact me again, and hung up.  He then tried to call me back again and again but I refused to answer and I suppose he eventually got the message.

I then got this final message from Kathy Edmonston before she published her “internal poll” on the Facebook site that Comeaux had no doubt set up for her.

“We agreed in the beginning that our objective as to remove Chas from BESE.  That is still my objective and I still hope that we can both can work to that end.”

When I first met Kathy I thought she was different than most politicians, and how they operate, and that we could work together.  I’d hoped that she was.  In the end, it looks like all that makes her different is different large donors.

Jason France

Candidate for BESE District 6