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LA-3 Runoff: It’s a Jungle Out There

Lâche pas la patate!

In a Jungle Primary oddity, Tuesday’s election pitted two incumbent Republicans vying for a single seat in Louisiana’s new District 3 (Southwest LA). The results:

  • Rep. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) – 45%
  • Rep. Jeff Landry (R-New Iberia) – 30%
  • Attorney Ron Richard (D-Lake Charles) – 22%
  • “The Field” 1 (R) & 1 (L) – 3%

Until the entry of the unknown Richard into the race, Boustany had been expected to win in the November 6 race. (I am told that internal polling numbers showed a generic Democrat would poll 21%. Apparently Richard’s immediate family and friends added the extra 1%.) Since neither incumbent exceeded 50% of the vote, the top two finishers meet in a runoff on December 8.

The race between Boustany and Landry probably will only intensify during the next 31 days as both candidates still have cash to spend. Boustany raised $3 million for his re-election bid, and Landry built a war chest with $1.8 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission detailing campaign fundraising and spending through Oct. 17.

Combined, Boustany and Landry spent $3.8 million before Tuesday’s primary election. Boustany has about $918,000 remaining in cash on hand, and Landry has at least $638,000 to bolster his odds before the Dec. 8 runoff.

… Boustany was a “heavy favorite” to win the election outright before Richard entered the race, but the Democrat’s inclusion on the ballot probably stopped Boustany from winning the election without a runoff.

I was disappointed to see this election turn so nasty — on both sides. I am definitely not looking forward to the mudslinging leading up to the runoff.

I voted for Rep. Boustany in the general and I will vote for him in the runoff. My support of Rep. Boustany makes me the odd man out among RedState contributors, but let me explain.

I like Jeff Landry on a personal level. In fact, I wrote the diary that introduced him to RedState readers during his successful bid for the old District 3 seat 2010. (That district, which covered much of southeast LA, was lost to redistricting, setting the stage for 2012′s circus.)

Boustany has served in Congress since 2005. He sits on the Ways and Means Committee. There is little doubt that of the two, Boustany is more aligned with the House leadership. Landry’s voting record scores considerably more conservative.

Here’s the issue that separates the two in my mind: Landry introduced language into the Coast Guard reauthorization bill that would mandate greatly use of standby boats in offshore oil operations. It so happens that Landry’s base of financial support are owners of offshore supply vessels.

A year ago, my company was an owner of a marginal gas field in the Gulf of Mexico (since abandoned). Landry’s amendment was a threat, a grossly unnecessary expense for no added benefit. If implemented, it will cost jobs, hurt small operators’ economics, and cause the premature abandonment of shelf properties.

Mr. Landry stands by his amendment.

Choosing a candidate to support is not as simple as reading a scorecard. There is a matter of personal style and effectiveness and atttention to issues that matter in the district.

Cross-posted at stevemaley.com.

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