Though two independent polls showed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum far ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the days leading up to the March 24 GOP presidential primary, no candidate was conceding ground in Louisiana. On March 23, Santorum spoke at a Ouachita Parish rally; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, held a town hall in Pineville; and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich stumped in Port Fouchon. Meanwhile, Romney had an afternoon engagement in Shreveport, but first he held his own rally in Metairie — in a meeting room at Clearview Mall.
The Clearview Rooms are two modest meeting spaces that normally host small baby and bridal shows, not rallies for the presumptive Republican candidate for president of the United States. According to the mall, the Clearview Rooms comprise more than 3,000 square feet when combined, can accommodate up to 300 people and provide direct access to the food court.
Romney has been endorsed by several Louisiana politicos, including Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander of Quitman, Jefferson Parish President John Young and Jefferson Parish Assessor Tom Capella. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who came out early and enthusiastically for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has said he will make no endorsement until a Republican nominee is chosen. — Kevin Allman