The Times-Picayune: "Here's what Steve Scalise and his 2018 election opponent have in common: not much"

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

By Drew Broach

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and his first announced opponent in the 2018 election campaign have this much in common: Both are married white fathers with backgrounds in computer science. Beyond that, not much.

Jim Francis, 46, a Covington area Democrat making his first run for elected office, said the five-term Republican from Old Jefferson is "owned by lobbyists and only puts effort into representing them, the Koch brothers and other monied interests." Francis vows to curtail the "massive corporate tax giveaways" that Scalise championed as the No. 3 Republican in the House, and to direct some of the resulting revenue to Louisiana.

"Ninety-seven percent of the time, he votes for the wealthy," Francis said Thursday (March 29), "and 3 percent of the time for the middle class" that predominates in Louisiana's 1st Congressional District. "He's neglecting the people he represents."

Scalise was elected to Congress in 2008 with 75 percent of the vote, and in five subsequent campaigns he has never received less than 66 percent. Voter registration in the district is 39.5 percent Republican, 31.1 Democrat and 29.4 percent other.

That does not deter Francis, who also attacked Scalise's opposition to gun control. "I don't feel there was a very strong candidate running on the platform that they should have been running on," he said of the previous elections.

Further, he said, Scalise has failed to deliver for Louisiana in the past 14 months even though Republicans have occupied the White Houseand controlled both chambers of Congress

Francis said he was raised in the Akron, Ohio, area, and that his father was a member of the Summit County School Board. He said he is married, has a son and works as the information technology director of a commercial toxicology laboratory.

He said he has raised about $7,000 for the campaign. Scalise began 2018 with almost $1.1 million in the bank. The election is scheduled Nov. 6.

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