Daniel Becnel Jr., the brash trial lawyer who made an unsuccessful attempt to oust St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom in Saturday’s election, is apparently not ready to hang it up.This is a familiar maxim in modern conservative politics. Racism is only a problem when and where "divisive" people are so impolite as to point out that it exists.
In a note to supporters on Monday, Becnel blamed his loss on national civil rights leader Al Sharpton’s involvement in the race and said his opponent ran a racially divisive campaign that would damage the parish.
“At Natalie’s victory party, the Rev. Sharpton took his picture with all concerned in LaPlace. Unbelievable,” he wrote. “This was the most racially divided contest I have ever seen, and I advised people in advance that they were trying to make it a black/white issue, which they succeeded in doing.”
A couple of days before the vote, Robottom’s campaign released a recording of a voice message that Becnel had left with one of her supporters. On it, Becnel, who is white, was heard suggesting that white turnout would be higher than expected, then saying, “We’re taking our parish back.”
You can listen to the voice message in question here. The YouTube caption calls it a "racist rant." I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "rant." But it's pretty clear Becnel couches his prospects in starkly racial terms. Anyway he lost so it's fair to say his interpretation of those numbers was off.
But leave all the racial accusations and sour grapes aside and notice this item from among Becnel's allegations.
Becnel also accused Robottom of taking part in a back-room political deal with U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans.Again, Becnel is basically complaining that he lost because too many black people voted. So, yeah, maybe he wants to shut up about "racial divisiveness" for a while.
He wrote that Richmond “worked tirelessly for Natalie Robottom” and told people he would be running for David Vitter’s seat in the U.S. Senate, while Robottom “made her intentions known that she was going to run for Congress.” He said Jackie Hotard, an at-large member of the Parish Council, got a promise of their support to replace Robottom as parish president.
“This made it impossible for me to win,” Becnel wrote, “due to the fact that they got over 3,000 additional voters, almost all of whom were black, to join on to this program.”
But meanwhile, what do we make of this Cedric Richmond For Senate theory? It's an open seat sure to draw lots of attention. Is Cedric going to run?