Republican leaders in two-thirds of the parishes in the newly-drawn 3rd Congressional District say they support US Representative Jeff Landry of New Iberia over Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany.

UL-Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says this shows the split in the Republican Party and the direction it wants to go:

Is it going to go very, very conservative or just very conservative? We really have in Boustany and Landry the two sides of the Republican Party right now: the quite conservative and the extremely conservative.

The Landry endorsements come from GOP executive committees in Acadia, Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes.

“Even though we are current constituents of Charles Boustany, we feel that this year there is a better choice – a true conservative and a candidate that is willing to stand up and fight for our values,” said Dexter Duhon, Chairman of the Vermilion Republican Party. “That is why we endorsed Jeff Landry.”

“Jeff has done a great job representing the current 3rd district and has proven that he is a true conservative willing to stand up for our principles,” said Christian Gil, a member of the RSCC and of the St. Mary RPEC. “That is why the St. Mary RPEC has endorsed Jeff Landry for re-election. Jeff Landry has been a true champion for our conservative values.”

This follows endorsements from the Calcasieu Parish Republican Party and, according to Landry, the support and written endorsements of nearly two-thirds of all elected Louisiana Republican State Central Committee (RSCC) members representing the 3rd Congressional District and two of Louisiana’s RNC members, those members who officially represent Louisiana on the Republican National Committee.

“Jeff Landry is the clear choice for conservatives in the new 3rd Congressional District,” said Ross Little, who serves as the National Committee on the RNC. “He has a proven conservative record to run on, is willing to fight the Washington establishment when they stray from conservative values, and is a true promoter of our free-enterprise system. For these reasons, I am endorsing Jeff Landry for re-election.”

Jeff Landry has this to say about the endorsements:

It is clear that these leaders have looked at my voting record and that of Mr. Boustany. They have found I remained true to my conservative principles, while Mr. Boustany has not. I am pleased to have the support of Republican Party leaders who know we need an honest, conservative voice representing South Louisiana in Congress.

The Boustany campaign responded by saying this:

The Republican Party was very clear four months ago they were not going to endorse anyone in this race. For Jeff Landry to strong arm three or four people in these parishes into supporting him, and then attempt to sell these votes of support as an endorsement of the Republican Party is flat out misleading. Unfortunately, half-truths and lies are what we've come to expect from the Landry campaign. I am confident the two individuals on the Vermillion PEC supporting Jeff is not a reliable indicator how the broader base of Republicans feel about Dr. Boustany.

Landry and Boustany are forced into a run-off after Louisiana lost a congressional seat. Cross says this is a strong showing of support for Landry:

He's getting his footing, he's feeling more comfortable. I think it's taken awhile but all the groundwork has been laid. I think Landry is running a tough and targeted campaign and I think he will give Boustany pretty much all he can handle.

Cross says while this is good news for Landry, it's not bad for Boustany. He says the endorsement is only from a handful of Republican leaders and their endorsements don't necessarily represent the majority of voters:

This is a very, very narrow slice of the actual electorate and it's a very strongly GOP slice. This indicates what's going on in the Republican Party. The likelihood that this indicates anything with regard to what's going to happen in the election is very small.

The election is November 6th. Besides Landry and Boustany, Republican Bryan Barrilleaux of Lake Charles, Democrat Ron Richard of Lake Charles and Libertarian Jim Stark of Lake Charles are also on the ballot.