by Clancy DuBos
Embattled Public Service Commissioner Jay Blossman of St. Tammany Parish has pulled out of his re-election bid, saying he wants to spend more time with his family. Blossman, who was first elected to the PSC 12 years ago, faced a tough re-election fight on the heels of revelations that he used his office stationery to promote a business venture owned by the son of a friend and supporter. Even more recently, he was the subject of a report by WWL-TVs Lee Zurik for accepting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Entergy employees after promising not to accept any utility contributions during his first campaign in 1996.
Blossman first waded into controversy during the governorship of Mike Foster, a fellow Republican, who dubbed him spa boy after news reports of Blossman traveling to Santa Fe on a utility sponsored boondoggle, allegedly to learn more about regulatory issues. At the retreat, he reportedly enjoyed the services of a posh spa. When he tried to run for governor in 2003, Foster dubbed him spa boy, and the name stuck in many circles. His campaign was a non-starter.
Blossmans withdrawal statement reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
I have decided that now is the time for me to return the focus of my life to my family and our family business. Therefore, I have decided that I will not seek re-election to the Public Service Commission. I want to thank my constituents for their trust and for allowing me to serve them and I look forward to serving our community in other capacities in the years ahead.
When qualifying closed last Friday (July 11), Blossman faced four opponents:
Former PSC member John F. Schwegmann, no party, of Metairie;
Bruce C. Kincade, no party, of Metairie;
Former state Rep. Kenneth Odinet Sr., Republican, of Arabi;
Attorney Eric Skrmetta, Republican, of Metairie.
The open primary is Oct. 4.
Blossman has represented District 1 on the PSC, which includes all of St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, St. Helena, St. Bernard and Plaquemines, as well as parts of Livingston, Orleans (Lakeview area and far eastern New Orleans around Lake Catherine), Jefferson (lower Jefferson, parts of West Bank and Metairie), St. Charles and St. John parishes.