Moon Griffon and Billy Nungesser Air Out Disagreements Over Louisiana’s Primary System Following LAGOP Endorsement of Jeff Landry
LOUISIANA (KPEL News) - Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser is upset with the Louisiana Republican Party and he took to the airwaves on the Moon Griffon Show to vent his frustrations with them.
What he got was a host who was ready to debate him not only on the endorsement but also on their differences concerning Louisiana's current primary system.
A few days ago, the LAGOP gave their endorsement of current state Attorney General Jeff Landry after he announced his candidacy for the Louisiana governorship. Since Landry made the announcement just over a month ago, many Republicans have been aligning behind him including the last two GOP candidates for governor - businessman Eddie Rispone and former U.S. Congressman Ralph Abraham.
In the meantime, Nungesser has been saying that he would make an official announcement about whether he would run for the governorship sometime soon after the November 8th elections. When the LAGOP decided to throw their support behind Landry instead of waiting on Nungesser or any other potential candidate's announcements, Nungesser took to his supporters with this email:
The notion that a handful of people could go into a back room and emerge with an endorsement of a candidate without ever considering others who are running or considering running is arrogant, ill-conceived and detrimental to the party," Nungesser said in his statement. "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. 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 the Moon Griffon Show, Nungesser continued with that frustration.
"We're our own worst enemy," started off Nungesser as he blasted the endorsement by the LAGOP. He then went on to talk about how he says the process went from LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich's alleged role in how things went down to Republican leader Charlie Buckels alleged "strong-arming" of the process to get the votes.
Moon then went on to give one of the reasons why he thinks Republicans have had a hard time winning the last two gubernatorial elections - the open primary system. Moon is an advocate for the closed primary system. Nungesser agreed with Moon's assessments of how Republicans have turned on each other during the last two election cycles for governor but disagreed with him on the open vs. closed primary system debate.
Nungesser explained how Louisiana has many registered Democrats and Independents who vote Republican and that a closed primary system would hamper those voices, making the path for a Republican to win harder. Moon maintained that other states have found success with the closed primary system and that Louisiana should learn from them. In theory, the closed primary system would allow party candidates to fight it out in the primaries then unite behind the winner in the General Election.
"We've got Republicans who act like Democrats," said Griffon. "And we've got Republicans who vote like Democrats. That's our problem."
Nungesser then went on to explain how he says he has been "shut out" of multiple Republican events. Moon then went on to point out Nungesser's perceived friendly relationship with Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards and Nungesser responded that working together with leaders across party lines - especially the governor - should be considered a good thing.
Then, Buckels called in to the Moon Griffon Show and responded to dispute Nungesser's claim that the LAGOP endorsement was done as part of some backroom dealing and that he did not have to strong-arm votes for Landry.