Dan Claitor

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Daniel Albert "Dan" Claitor​

Louisiana State Senator for District 16 (East Baton Rouge Parish)​
In office
April 2009​ – ​January 13, 2020
Preceded by Bill Cassidy
Succeeded by Franklin Foil

Born August 3, 1961​
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sharmaine Leblanc Claitor ​
Children Samuel Gregory "Sam" Claitor​

James Daniel Claitor​
Robert Gregory Calitor, Sr.
​ Nancy McLellan Claitor​

Alma mater Robert E. Lee High School​

Louisiana State University
Loyola University New Orleans School of Law​

Occupation Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Daniel Albert Claitor, known as Dan Claitor (born August 3, 1961), is an attorney in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana who is a Republican former state senator for District 16 in East Baton Rouge Parish.​

Family and career

Claitor is the third of four sons of Robert Gregory Claitor, Sr., and the former Nancy McLellan (1934-2014), the daughter of the late Archibald Kenneth McLellan and the former Jewel Dean. Mrs. Claitor died of injuries sustained in an automobile accident on October 22, 2014, two weeks before the primary election for Congress. Reared in Boyce in northern Rapides Parish in the home of her maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert McNeely Dean, Mrs. Claitor studied and taught ballet, earned her credentials as a registered nurse in 1956 from the former Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, and received a degree in psychiatric nursing from Loyola University New Orleans. At the time of her death, having retired from nursing, she was the harbor master and co-owner of Marina del Ray in Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish, and a co-owner and former manager of Claitor's Law Books and Publishing Company in Baton Rouge. An enthusiast of the French French language, she traveled extensively in France and sat on the board of Friends of French Studies at LSU. She was a United Methodist.[1]

Claitor and his brothers, James Dean Claitor, Robert Claitor, Jr., and John Fleming Claitor,[1][2] were reared within the boundaries of his Baton Rouge senatorial district. The family Claitor's Bookstore has published general works distinct to Louisiana and the memoirs of numerous Louisiana politicians, such as William J. "Bill" Dodd, a former lieutenant governor and state education superintendent who twice lost gubernatorial campaigns in 1952 and 1959.

Claitor's formal schooling began at the age of three in the preschool of the Department of Home Economics at LSU. He graduated in 1979 from Robert E. Lee High School in Baton Rouge and then returned to LSU to complete in 1983 a Bachelor of Science degree in finance. According to his website, he considers the progress of LSU crucial to the retention and recruitment of business in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. As a youth, Claitor drove delivery trucks and worked the presses and bindery operations at Claitor's, for which he is still its legal counsel.[3]

Claitor obtained his law degree from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. In 1987, Claitor was named an assistant district attorney at the annual salary of $18,951 for the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office. Claitor claimed that he developed a good record in fighting crime. In 2008, in his first political race, Claitor lost badly in a bid for District Attorney of the 19th Judicial District.[4] Claitor polled 26,880 votes (26 percent) in the district attorney's race to 76,890 ballots (74 percent) for the Democrat Hillar Moore, who carried the backing of two former Republican district attorneys, Bryan Bush, and Douglas Moreau, the outgoing DA who had served since 1991.[5]

Claitor entered private practice in Baton Rouge in 1990. He and his wife, the former Sharmaine Leblanc (also born 1961), have two sons, Sam and James Claitor. They are Roman Catholics.[3]

Political overview

Claitor was an unsuccessful candidate for the open seat for Louisiana's 6th congressional district in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on November 4, 2014, in conjunction with the regular general elections in the other forty-nine states. The congressional seat was vacated by Bill Cassidy, Claitor's predecessor in the state Senate, who instead ran successfully to unseat Democrat U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Claitor's intra-party opponents were Garret Graves, then state Representative Lenar Whitney and Paul Deitzel, II, of Baton Rouge, namesake grandson of the Louisiana State University football coach and athletic director Paul Dietzel, I.[6]

A Democrat, then 87-year-old Edwin Edwards, ex-convict, former four-time governor and four-time representative of Louisiana's since defunct 7th congressional district,[7] led the primary field with 77,862 votes (30.1 percent), but later lost the general election to the runner-up in the primary, Garret Graves, who received in the primary 70,706 (27.4 percent) in the primary.[8]

2009 special election

On April 4, 2009, Claitor defeated fellow Republican Lee Domingue, a Baton Rouge businessman backed by then Governor Bobby Jindal, in a special election for the District 16 seat vacated by Republican U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy. Claitor received 11,713 votes (66 percent) to Domingue's 6,114 (34 percent).[9] Prior to Cassidy's short tenure, the Senate seat was held by former Louisiana Secretary of State and lieutenant governor, John Leigh "Jay" Dardenne, Jr., a Moderate Republican and commissioner of administration under Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.

In the first round of special election balloting (not an actual primary but sometimes referred to as such by the media) held on March 7, 2009, a third candidate, Republican health-care consultant Laurinda Lege Calongne (born ca. 1964), polled 4,511 votes (27 percent) to Claitor's 6,509 votes (39 percent) and Domingue's 5,760 votes (34 percent), according to official returns from all 103 precincts.[10] Colongne then threw her backing to Claitor.[11] Despite heavy spending, much of it from his own sources, Domingue scored no inroads in the second race. His campaign had spent $429,709, or nearly three-fourths of its funds, as of March 15, the last day that spending had to be reported to the office of the Louisiana secretary of state. Claitor spent $154,825.[12]

One of the issues in the campaign centered on Dominigue's having missed casting his ballot in nine of the last twenty elections in East Baton Rouge Parish, whereas Claitor had voted in all of the past thirty such contests.[13]

Jindal's role

Governor Jindal actively supported Domingue, whose family had donated some $118,500 to Jindal's previous campaigns and transition committees. Jindal's endorsement of Dominigue was his first in a legislative race since he became governor in January 2008. Jindal had earlier indicated that he would not endorse candidates in legislative or statewide elections, but he did support then State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy's unsuccessful Republican challenge to Senator Mary Landrieu on November 4, 2008.[14]​ Kennedy, however, rebounded to victory in 2016 in the Senate race to choose a successor to Republican David Vitter.

Jindal also did not openly support Republican former U.S. Representative Clyde Holloway, who emerged as the frontrunner and winner following the withdrawal of the opposing candidate in the special election held on April 4, 2009, for the District 4 seat on the regulatory Louisiana Public Service Commission.[15] Nor would Jindal endorse the 2010 reelection of U.S. Senator David Vitter, who previously held the House seat that Jindal himself occupied from 2005 to 2008.​

Kirby Goidel, an LSU political analyst, interpreted the senatorial results as "baffling" and a “loss” for Jindal. "He’s irritated some people in the community, and legislators are thinking he [Jindal] could not win in a Republican race. You had a Republican-leaning district, a Republican race and not carrying that after you endorse. I don’t think there’s much ambiguity."[14]

Claitor as state senator

Senator Claitor calls himself a "constructive conservative" and "a team player with an Independent approach".[3] Jindal met with Claitor three days after the election at a reception for then State Senate President Joel Chaisson, I, of Destrehan in St. Charles Parish, and promised to work with the new senator. He invited Claitor to the governor's office to discuss upcoming legislative matters. Claitor's primary interest in the Senate was his advocacy for LSU-related issues.[16]

Senator Claitor calls himself a "constructive conservative" and "a team player with an Independent approach," and promised to work with the new senator. He invited Claitor to the governor's office to discuss upcoming legislative matters. Claitor's primary interest in the Senate has been as an advocate for LSU-related issues.[16]

Claitor took time from his congressional race to file suit to overturn the $55,000 annual increase in retirement benefits approved by the legislature on behalf of Mike Edmonson, then the superintendent of the Louisiana State Police and a Jindal appointee. On September 16, 2014, Judge Janice Clark of the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge, declared the "Edmonson Act," as it became known in the media after its passage in July 2014, unconstitutional because it impacted only two persons. The Louisiana State Police Retirement System Board offered no rebuttal to the suit Claitor filed, and the provision of the law impacting Edmonson and a second state police employee was quickly struck down by the judge. Jindal himself said he did not know that the amendment he signed was written to impact only two persons.[17]

On September 19, 2014, Claitor, Lenar Whitney, Paul Dietzel, and two other Republican congressional candidates, Garret Graves and Trey Thomas, all received the "Outstanding Family Advocate Award" from the Louisiana Family Forum.[18]

Claitor was term-limited in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 12, 2019. He will be succeeded on January 13, 2020, by another Republican, Franklin Foil, who won a runoff against the Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson. Outgoing Republican state Representatives Steve Carter finished third in the primary, only four votes beind Foil and hence failed to gain a runoff berth.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nancy McLellan Claitor (mother of Dan Claitor). The Baton Rouge Advocate (October 25, 2014). Retrieved on October 15, 2019.
  2. James Daniel Claitor (uncle of Dan Claitor). The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved on October 15, 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Claitor for Louisiana Senate District 16. claitorforsenate.com. Retrieved on April 18, 2009; no longer on-line.
  4. Joe Gyan, Jr.. DA foes experienced in law: Republican Dan Claitor, Democrat Hillar Moore vying for post. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 18, 2009; no longer on-line.
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 4, 2008.
  6. Jordan Blum (January 24, 2014). Washington Watch: Handicapping the 6th District race. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on February 5, 2014; no longer on-line.
  7. Albert R. Hunt (February 19, 2014). Ex-Con Ex-Governor Running for Congress: Edwin Edwards, the most colorful Louisiana politician since Huey Long is running for Congress. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved on October 15, 2019.
  8. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 4, 2014.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, April 4, 2009.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, March 7, 2009.
  11. Marsha Shuler. Calongne endorses Claitor in runoff. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 18, 2009; no longer on-line.
  12. Marsha Shuler. It's Claitor!: Dominigue gains only 34 percent of the vote. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 18, 2009; no longer on-line.
  13. A Look at the Candidates' Voting Record. The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved on April 18, 2009; no longer on-line.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Marsha Shuler, "Claitor win called Jindal's loss, The Baton Rouge Advocate, April 18, 2009.
  15. The Moon Griffon Show, April 1, 2009.
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Politics for April 12, 2009," The Baton Rouge Advocate,April 12, 2009.
  17. Cole Avery (September 16, 2014). 'Edmonson Act' declared unconstitutional in state court. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on October 15, 2019.
  18. "End of Week: Victory achieves lifetime award!", Louisiana Family Forum, September 19, 2004.

External links