HAYRIDE: Is Landry Uniting The LAGOP As We Speak?
As election season approaches and we prepare to elect a new governor, particularly given the recent history of gubernatorial elections in Louisiana and the results those have produced for our people, conservatives and Republicans across the state should be concerned about one thing – NOT FUMBLING OUR GREAT OPPORTUNITY!
The past two cycles have fielded strong rosters of Republican candidates for governor. We’ve had sitting US Senators and Congressmen, Statewide elected officials, and private sector success stories all run and fall short of the inferior Democrat John Bel Edwards. And as a consequence of those last two cycles, we’re in worse shape relative to our Southern neighbors than ever.
But why? We can all agree that JBE was never an inspiring candidate. In both elections of JBE, the common deficiency he was able to capitalize on was Republican division. We all remember Jay Dardenne selling out David Vitter (and his soul) in exchange for a cush job in the Edwards administration and a fat retirement account.
With that backstab, Dardenne effectively took the 4th floor away from the GOP by shoring up moderate Republican support for John Bel.
Then, four years later, the murder-suicide perpetrated by the out-of-state consultants on the Rispone campaign against Ralph Abraham again divided the party, ensuring a John Bel victory.
In 2023, things seem to be different. One candidate is steadily building a base of Republicans from different political perspectives and geographies.
To start, let’s look at Jeff Landry’s bread and butter – the MAGA movement. Having secured the Trump endorsement back in May, he reconnected with President Trump last week in Metairie for a fundraiser. He’s got the hardcore conservatives lane on lockdown.
Next, let’s look at the evangelical north Louisiana vote – Landry seems to have that sector, too. Congressman Mike Johnson, one of the top Louisiana evangelical leaders, is on board and has publicly endorsed him.Geographically, in addition to having strong support in North Louisiana coming from Mike Johnson, he’s also secured his home and traditionally swing area of Acadiana with the endorsement of Congressman Clay Higgins.
Now this morning, in a surprising turn of events, Republican U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy publicly endorsed Jeff Landry for governor – a move that is sure to send shockwaves through the candidates running against Landry. U.S. Senator Cassidy owns the base of support many of the anti-Landry candidates are seeking to unite in an effort to knock Landry out the top spot.
Cassidy’s endorsement is not coming from a place of 100% ideological agreement with Landry on every issue. It’s coming from a logical and honest view of what he sees as best for the state, uniting the Republican party and looking past these next 110 days of campaign season and toward a Republican governing and moving our state forward. An assessment Billy Nungesser also saw early on in this race.
Undeniably, what’s best for Louisiana is a Republican governor, and it’s steadily looking like the Republican with the best chance to win and fundamentally improve our state is Jeff Landry.
And interestingly enough, the only major Democrat in the race, former Department of Transportation and Development secretary Shawn Wilson, has barely more than a half-million dollars in the bank and can’t seem to break out of the 20’s in any of the latest polls. You’d think the “moderate Republican” lane would be wide enough that a non-Landry Republican could be viable. Cassidy’s endorsement is a loud signal that the pros, or at least some pretty important pros, simply don’t see anybody being able to ride that lane into the runoff.
In 2016, Jay Dardenne made it “OK” for moderates to vote for John Bel – effectively securing a Democrat victory.
It’s still early, but we have to wonder, did Bill Cassidy just close the last lane against Landry available and make it “OK” for moderates to vote for Jeff Landry?
There are a lot of Republicans in our state who know that JBE has been a disaster but may be turned off by some of Jeff Landry’s gunslinger tendencies.
With this early endorsement, Sen. Cassidy and Jeff Landry may have just united the Republican party.
For the sake of our state, we hope so.