Cortez, a Republican businessman representing District 43, has held at least two recent fundraisers at private homes, and his campaign account has more than $100,000. All of the new commitments have not yet been tallied, says Cortez, whose goal is to double that $100,000 in the next 2.5 months. “I’ll be close to $200,000 by the time we go into regular session [April 25],” Cortez says.
State law allows him to raise money until the special redistricting session (exceptions are made if the fundraiser was set before the session was called), scheduled to convene March 20 and end no later than April 13. Lawmakers also are allowed to raise money between the special and regular sessions, and Cortez says he’s already slated a fundraiser for that window as well.
The election for all of Louisiana’s 39 Senate districts and 105 House districts is Nov. 19, with the primary Oct. 22 and qualifying Sept. 6-8. “I don’t really see a scenario where I wouldn’t be [a Senate candidate],” Cortez says, noting that the main factor affecting his decision is the uncertainty over redistricting. While it appears that his home off Kaliste Saloom Road will remain in District 23, there are no certainties in the process.
In January 2008 Cortez, a local furniture store owner, assumed the seat vacated by Republican Ernie Alexander, who did not seek a third term. Cortez defeated fellow Republican Patrick LeBlanc, garnering 7,742 votes (55.5 percent) compared to LeBlanc’s 6,218 votes (44.5 percent). About five months after the election, LeBlanc was killed in a plane crash. — Leslie Turk