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Richard Phillip Ieyoub, Sr. (born August 11, 1944), is a Baton Rougemarker lawyer and a Democratic politician who was the attorney general of Louisianamarker from 1992-2004. He was the Calcasieu Parish district attorney in Lake Charlesmarker from 1984-92, and is presently with the Baton Rouge firm Couhig Partners. Ieyoub, a political personality allied with his party's liberal wing, finished in a disappointing third place in the jungle primary for the U.S. Senate in 1996, and for the Louisiana governorship in 2003.

Early years and education

Ieyoub (pronounced "EYE-oob") is of Arab extraction, and was born in Lake Charles to Phillip Assad Ieyoub and the former Virginia Khoury. He graduated from Lake Charles High School (later renamed Lake Charles Boston High School, and now no longer open) in 1962.

Ieyoub received his bachelor's degree in history from McNeese State Universitymarker (then College) in Lake Charles in 1968, and his Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State Universitymarker in Baton Rouge in 1972. He was admitted to the bar and licensed to practice in Louisiana, and before the United States Supreme Courtmarker.

Early in his career, Ieyoub was a special prosecutor for the man he would succeed as attorney general, fellow Democrat William J. "Billy" Guste, Jr., of New Orleans. Ieyoub was affiliated with the Lake Charles firm Baggett, McCall, Singleton, Ranier, and later established a solo practice. He also instructed criminal law on occasion at McNeese State. Ieyoub is a member of the Sierra Club.

Ieyoub was elected district attorney of Calcasieu Parish in 1984 and was reelected without opposition in 1990. During his tenure as district attorney, he headed the national Commission on Model State Drug Laws.

Three elections as attorney general

When William Guste announced that he would not seek a sixth term as attorney general in 1991, Ieyoub filed for the position as the leading candidate. Ieyoub was challenged by two fellow Democrats, future state Treasurer John Kennedy and Winston Riddick, and the principal Republican choice, former state Representative and state Senator Bernard J. "Ben" Bagert, Jr., of New Orleans. Ieyoub led the field with 447,423 votes (31 percent) to Bagert's 312,960 (22 percent), Kennedy's 288,104 (20 percent), and Riddick's 224,200 (16 percent). Two other Republicans also ran and divided 11 percent of the primary vote.

Ieyoub and Bagert went into the general election at the same time that former Governor Edwin Washington Edwards was being challenged by the onetime leader of the Ku Klux Klan, then state Representative David Duke of Jefferson Parish. Ieyoub defeated Bagert by a wider margin than that by which Edwards finished off Duke. The Calcasieu district attorney won the race by a margin of more than two to one: 1,147,592 (69 percent) to 517,660 (31 percent). Bagert even lost his own Orleans Parish in the election; the defeat ended Bagert's long career in state politics. Ieyoub's 1,147,592 vote tally was the highest numerical total ever obtained by a statewide candidate in Louisiana history until that time. The huge level of support may have given Ieyoub the idea that higher office lay in his future.

In 1995, Ieyoub won by an even larger margin than his historic showing in 1991. He polled 1,019,041 votes (76 percent) to 137,372 votes (10 percent) for the Republican Edward L. "Eddie" Tarpley, Jr. (born 1953), then the 35th district attorney of Grant Parish based in Colfaxmarker in north Louisiana, who barely finished in second place. Tarpley, an anti-gambling activist, in fact lost even his own Grant Parish to Ieyoub. Two other candidates received the remaining 14 percent of the vote.

As attorney general, Ieyoub won a multimillion dollar tobacco settlement for the state of Louisiana as compensation for the health care costs of smokers. Ieyoub took a leading role in the formulation of the theory of parens patriae, which allows the state to sue on behalf of its citizens. The theory has implications beyond the tobacco litigation, and may be employed in the future if the states jointly challenge the possession of firearms.

Ieyoub claimed among his major accomplishments as attorney general the promotion of "initiatives that protect our children and help our children lead a better quality of life." He was active in the fight against narcotics through the Louisiana Coordinating Council on the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Abuse. Ieyoub worked closely with the National Council Against Drinking and Driving. His office has been nationally recognized for combating underage drinking and drunken driving. He established a statewide school safety program and created a high-technology unit that targets sexual predators on the Internet.

Ieyoub was a member of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Falling short in the Senate race, 1996

In 1996, Ieyoub announced that he would enter the primary to select a successor to the retiring U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., a popular moderate Democrat from Shreveportmarker whose service dated back to 1972. Ieyoub faced 14 other candidates, but only 3 had a serious level of support. Ieyoub competed for Democratic votes with outgoing state Treasurer Mary Landrieu of New Orleans. Two Republican candidates were also considered major players, David Duke again and state Representative Louis E. "Woody" Jenkins of Baton Rouge, who had lost Senate races as a Democrat to Johnston in 1978 and to the retired legendary Russell B. Long in 1980.

Jenkins led the field in the primary with 322,244 votes (26 percent). Landrieu trailed with 264,268 (22 percent). Ieyoub followed with 250,682 (20 percent), and Duke trailed with 141,489 (12 percent). All of the Republican candidates on the ballot received a total of 57 percent of the vote, whereas Landrieu and Ieyoub, the only Democrats, divided the remaining 43 percent. Jenkins hence advanced to the general election against Landrieu, with Ieyoub out of the running by just under 14,000 votes. Jenkins was handicapped, however, by the weakness in Louisiana of the Republican presidential nominee, former Senator Bob Dole of Kansasmarker. Dole lost Louisiana to incumbent President Bill Clinton, and while Jenkins ran well ahead of Dole on the Republican ticket, he fell short once again. Landrieu would become Johnston's preferred successor in the Senate.

Ieyoub, however, believed that "dirty tricks" by the Landrieu forces denied him the coveted second spot in the Senate general election. Later, Jenkins would accuse the Landrieu organization of having arranged for "dead persons" to cast pivotal ballots in Orleans Parishmarker. Jenkins attempted to block Landrieu's swearing in, but Senate Republicans, led by Trent Lott, Jr. of Mississippimarker voted to seat Landrieu based on the state's election certification.

Ieyoub was elected to his third term as attorney general in 1999 without opposition.

The gubernatorial campaign, 2003

Main article: Louisiana gubernatorial election, 2003

In 2003, Ieyoub entered the gubernatorial race in an effort to succeed term-limited Republican Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr. As a gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Ieyoub declared himself a NASCAR fan, at least from the economic development consideration if not personal interest. "I'm a NASCAR fan from the standpoint of what it can do for economic development in Louisiana. It's been a tremendous economic development help for North Carolinamarker, Floridamarker, and other states that have NASCAR tracks," Ieyoub said.

Ieyoub picked up many endorsements in his gubernatorial bid, including the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, the AFL-CIO, the City Marshals Association, and Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD) in New Orleans.

Whereas Ieyoub had competed with Landrieu for Democratic base votes for the Senate in 1996, he was in competition with two Democrats for such votes in 2003: outgoing Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Lafayettemarker and former Congressman Anthony Claude "Buddy" Leach, Jr., who had residences in his hometown of Leesvillemarker as well as Ieyoub's own Lake Charles.

Meanwhile, the Republican frontrunner, Bobby Jindal, later a congressman from the New Orleans suburbs, seemed to have sewed up one of the general election berths. Ieyoub hence would have to surpass the showings of both Blanco and Leach to gain the coveted second spot.

Jindal led in the primary for the first general election berth with 33 percent of the vote. The Number 2 finisher was not Ieyoub but Blanco, who polled 18 percent, just over half of Jindal's initial total. Ieyoub drew 223,513 votes (16 percent), some 27,000 raw votes below his Senate showing seven years earlier. Leach finished in fourth place with 187,872 (14 percent). One may argue that Leach's votes in particular cost Ieyoub the coveted second spot. In fifth place was another Democrat Randy Ewing, the outgoing state Senate President from Quitmanmarker in Jackson Parish, who finished with 123,936 (9 percent). There was speculation that Ewing's votes may have come at the expense of either Jindal or Blanco.

Will Ieyoub switch parties?

In 2005, some unconfirmed reports circulated that Ieyoub might switch parties to run the U.S. Senate against Landrieu in 2008. Such a switch would have been highly unusual since Ieyoub has been a Democrat throughout his career. Mrs. Ieyoub, the former Caprice Brown, is a Republican and reportedly urged her husband to abandon his ancestral party. When the rumors were mentioned to Ieyoub in 2005, he said, somewhat cheerfully, "I have no comment on that."

One possible obstacle to a party switch is that his core supporters over the years have been blacks and blue-collar voters, the traditional mainstay of the Democratic Party. Moreover, Ieyoub teamed with Blanco in the general election of 2003. Ieyoub's friend and supporter Jim Bernhard of the Shaw Group and the chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said that he sees no way Ieyoub could change parties.

Personal life

The Ieyoubs married on February 3, 1995. Mrs. Ieyoub was a lawyer and worked under her future husband in the Louisiana Attorney General's office; she also holds a doctorate in higher education administration. The couple has four young children: Richard Phillip, Jr., Khoury, Christian, and Anna Michael Ieyoub. He also has three grown children from a previous marriage: Amy Claire, Nicole Ann, and Brennan Jude Ieyoub.

New Orleans gastroenterologist Steve Price, a friend of Ieyob's since childhood, recalls that Ieyoub regularly quotes his role model, Sir Winston Churchill. According to Dr. Price, Ieyoub "has a great sense of family. He showed just how much when he gave a kidney to his brother" in 1977. Another New Orleans friend, John Litchfield, says that Ieyoub is "truly genuine and down to earth. The thing people probably don't appreciate is how truly genuine he is and how he cares about people. For most politicians, that's unusual."

Ieyoub is Roman Catholic and is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish Church in New Orleansmarker.

References





  • Who's Who in America, 2006



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