Dan Claitor

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Daniel Albert "Dan" Claitor
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 16th district
Assumed office
April 2009
Preceded by Bill Cassidy
Personal details
Born (1961-08-03) August 3, 1961 (age 54)
Baton Rouge
East Baton Rouge Parish
Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sharmaine Leblanc Claitor

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 (born August 3, 1961),[1] known as Dan Claitor, is a Baton Rouge attorney and a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate.

On April 4, 2009, Claitor defeated fellow Republican Lee Domingue, a Baton Rouge businessman backed by Governor Bobby Jindal, in a special election for the District 16 Senate seat vacated by Republican U.S. Representative Bill Cassidy. Claitor received 11,713 votes (66 percent) to Domingue's 6,114 (34 percent).[2] Prior to Cassidy's short tenure, the seat was held by Louisiana Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, another Baton Rouge Republican.

Claitor was an unsuccessful candidate for the open seat from 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 intraparty opponents were Garret Graves, 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.[3] A Democrat, the 87-year-old Edwin Edwards, former four-time governor of Louisiana and four-time representative of Louisiana's 7th congressional district, since disbanded,[4] 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 had polled 70,706 (27.4 percent) in the primary.[5]


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 Registered Nurse degree 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 language, she traveled extensively in France and sat on the board of Friends of French Studies at LSU. She was a United Methodist.[6]

Claitor and his brothers, James Dean Claitor, Robert Claitor, Jr., and John Fleming Claitor,[6][7] 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, former lieutenant governor and state education superintendent. 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 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.[8]

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, where he claimed 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 District (East Baton Rouge Parish).[9] 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 E. Bush, Jr., and Douglas Moreau, the outgoing DA who had served since 1991.[10]

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 Catholic.[8]

2009 special election[edit]

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, 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.[11] Colongne then threw her backing to Claitor.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

Jindal's role[edit]

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 State Treasurer John Neely Kennedy's unsuccessful Republican challenge to Senator Mary Landrieu on November 4, 2008.[15]

Jindal also did not openly support Republican former U.S. Representative Clyde C. 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.[16] 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."[15]

Claitor as senator[edit]

Senator Claitor calls himself a "constructive conservative" and "a team player with an independent approach".[8] Jindal met with Claitor three days after the election at a reception for then State Senate President Joel Chaisson, II, a Democrat from Destrehan, 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.[17]

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, 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.[18]

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.[19]


  1. ^ "Click Daniel Claitor, August 1961". voterportal.sos.la.gov. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Official Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. April 4, 2009. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Jordan Blum, Washington Watch: Handicapping the 6th District race, January 24, 2014". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ex-Con Ex-Governor Running for Congress". Bloomberg. February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Election results 11/4/2014". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Nancy McLellan Claitor". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "James Obituary of Daniel Claitor (uncle of Dan Claitor)". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Claitor for Louisiana Senate District 16". claitorforsenate.com. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Joe Gyan, Jr., "DA foes experienced in law: Republican Dan Claitor, Democrat Hillar Moore vying for post"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Results for District Attorney, 19th Judicial District Court, October 4, 2008". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Louisiana Secretary of State, Official Election Results, March 7, 2009". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved August 8, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Marsha Shuler, "Calongne endorses Claitor in runoff"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Marsha Shuler, "It's Claitor!: Dominigue gains only 34 percent of the vote"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ "A Look at the Candidates' Voting Record". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "Marsha Shuler, "Claitor win called Jindal's loss"". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  16. ^ The Moon Griffon Show, April 1, 2009
  17. ^ "Politics for April 12, 2009". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved April 18, 2009. 
  18. ^ Cole Avery (September 16, 2014). "'Edmonson Act' declared unconstitutional in state court". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  19. ^ "End of Week: Victory achieves lifetime award!", Louisiana Family Forum, September 19, 2004

External links[edit]

Louisiana Senate
Preceded by
Bill Cassidy
Louisiana State Senator from District 16
2009 – present
Succeeded by