Billy Nungesser Calls on Louisiana GOP Chairman to Resign
BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser's frustrations with the Louisiana Republican Party are no secret, but this week he has escalated his war with the party by calling on its top executive to resign.
Back in November, when the state committee voted to endorse Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry for Governor - well before anyone else had entered the race - Nungesser fired back by emailing the personal contact info of the LAGOP's executive committee to his supporters, hinting that they should call the committee and demand answers.
He referred to the vote to endorse Landry as "arrogant" and "ill-conceived."
"The decision by this small, rogue group of party officials is disrespectful to the hundreds of elected party members and hundreds of thousands of Republicans," Nungesser's statement read. "At the root of this decision is money, and the party chairman and his lieutenants decided to embrace the payday over policy. It will very likely backfire because we have a well-informed electorate whose vote can’t be bought.”
On Thursday morning, however, he went beyond that while speaking with Newell Normand on WWL in New Orleans.
The source of Nungesser's anger this week was the state GOP chairman, Louis Gurvich, putting out an article calling on Congressman Garret Graves to hold off on running for governor. The LAGOP is also apparently making calls around the state to the same effect.
"So now, with the thought that
Gurvich's article, which came out earlier this week, mentioned Graves by name.
"I will frankly admit that I like Garret Graves," he wrote. "He is just plain likable and he is an effective voice for conservatives in Congress. What’s more, I think he will go far in the House. Following in the footsteps of Steve Scalise and Mike Johnson, he almost certainly has a future in senior leadership. That’s why I believe he would be making a terrible mistake by leaving Congress for the governor’s mansion."
The Republican Choices
Despite the LAGOP's early endorsement of Landry, multiple Republicans have jumped into the race.
Along with the Attorney General, Louisiana's State Treasurer, John Schroder, also announced he was running for Governor. He was later joined in the race by state senator Sharon Hewitt and state representative Richard Nelson.
Schroder, like Landry and Nungesser, had long been rumored to be preparing for a run, but held off on announcing until 2023. His announcement was further delayed by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy toying with a run, though both opted out eventually.
Hewitt and Schroder were also both vocal when the LAGOP endorsed Landry. They, too, commented on the idea of "backroom deals" subverting the will of Louisiana voters.