LA Dem Vice-Chair Cancels Controversial Fundraiser, but Tensions Remain

Photo Courtesy Rep. C. Travis Johnson official Facebook

The Louisiana Democratic Party Vice-Chair, C. Travis Johnson canceled a controversial fundraiser hosted by high-ranking members of the Louisiana GOP. The fundraiser, which had been set for March 11, was hosted by the Louisiana House Republican Caucus Chair Rep. Blake Miguez (R-49), a staunch Trump supporter who had encouraged Louisiana’s congressional leaders to vote to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The story, previously reported in Big Easy Magazine, resulted in strong pushback online from Louisiana Democrats outraged by the optics of prominent Republicans supporting high-ranking members of the Democratic Party. Many pointed to the newly-appointed Louisiana Democratic Party Chair, Katie Bernhardt, who is known for her previous support of the Lousiana Republican Party.

“Although not all Louisiana Democrats are happy with the outcome of the election for State Party Chair, the Chair and Executive Committee cannot control, nor anticipate how candidates run their campaigns or who they accept donations from,” said Mary Pritchard, Louisiana Democratic Executive Committee Member for the 3rd District. “Rep. Johnson’s poor decision to have a fundraiser hosted by state GOP leaders reflected badly on the party. As soon as it was discovered, Friday, Jan 23rd, the Executive Committee addressed Rep. Johnson and he subsequently canceled the event two days later. The online and in-person pushback directed at party Chair Katie Bernhardt was overdone. There are better places for members of party leadership to address their outrage than on social media. Now is not the time to break down our party, but to come together to build.” Pritchard notes, however, that her views are not indicative of the overall views of the Democratic Executive Committee.

However, other members of the party are concerned over what appears to be a lack of willingness by Bernhardt to reach out to other members of the party and explain what happened.

“While the C. Travis Johnson event may have been canceled, many questions remain. How did the 1st Vice-Chair of the LA Democratic Party think this was appropriate to begin with? Why did our party chair Katie Bernhardt ignore the concerns expressed about this event until the Big Easy Magazine article? Is Johnson going to return the donations received from Republican hosts and donors?” asked Katherine Hurst, Democratic State Central Committee Representative for District 43A. “C. Travis Johnson’s abysmal voting record remains an embarrassment to our party. That record already existed prior to Katie Bernhardt choosing him as a running mate for party leadership. The bottom line is our current leadership does not align with Democratic Party values and is sorely lacking in accountability and transparency. For any success on the state level, drastic changes are desperately needed. As a Democratic Party loyalist and elected member of the Democratic State Central Committee, I am very concerned about the direction of our party in Louisiana and hope we can redirect our state party before it is too late.”

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