Louisiana State Capitol building
A leader of the state's logging industry says she will support the Republican challenger to the state's insurance commissioner in this fall's primary election.
Tim Temple of Baton Rouge is running to unseat longtime incumbent Commissioner Jim Donelon, citing what he says is Donelon's failure to reduce insurance rates and attract new insurance companies to do business in Louisiana. Donelon has served as insurance commissioner since 2006. Prior to that, he served in the state House of Representatives.
Temple has worked in insurance for 20 years and has committed $1 million of his own money to the race, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Donelon's campaign counters many of the criticisms levied by Temple and his backers. In June, Donelon announced that two of the state's auto insurers filed plans to reduce rates, while another has dropped rates three times in the past year. Donelon's campaign website also notes that new property insurers have moved into the state in the year's following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
Temple, meanwhile, has already earned the endorsement of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, which represents the state's trucking industry, and others are also beginning to line up behind the challenger.
"I am personally going to endorse Tim Temple in the race," said Toni McAllister, executive director of the Louisiana Loggers Association, which represents the state's logging industry. However, McAllister points out the organization itself has not made an official endorsement in the race, but will likely do so prior to the Oct. 12 primary.
McAllister cites past difficulties in working with Donelon as part of the reason she's backing Temple.
"Three years ago a few of our association members went to Donelon to prepare him for what was going with commercial insurance, and he said he could not help in any way," McAllister said. "He did not offer any assistance."