Former Rep. Jeff Landry rode a tea party wave into office in 2010, but was the odd Republican out in Louisiana's 2012 redistricting, a maverick mostly abandoned by the establishment in his member-on-member loss to GOP Rep. Charles Boustany Jr.
Fast forward three years and Landry has the party's support in his bid to knock off Republican Attorney General Buddy Caldwell in Saturday's run-off election. He even has some Democrats jumping in to take up his cause. "I am proud to be the official Republican candidate for Attorney General. And I look forward to earning the trust and votes of Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters in Louisiana,” the former congressman said in a statement acknowledging the state GOP's endorsement last month.
That perhaps wasn't a huge shock. Caldwell is a former Democrat who first won the AG slot in 2007. He became a Republican in 2011, and won re-election unopposed that year. While he has been endorsed by a wide swath of Louisiana's law enforcement community, the GOP establishment decided to go with Landry.
"Jeff Landry is the Republican in the Attorney General’s race," state party Chairman Roger Villere said in the endorsement statement. Landry boasts other establishment support on his Facebook page, including from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., as well as fellow tea party favorites such as Rep. John Fleming, R-La. (His Facebook page features his profile picture draped in the French flag. It's a nod to the Paris attacks of Nov. 13 — and a reminder of Landry's Cajun roots.)
But the support of his Democratic opponent in the AG's race, Geri Broussard Baloney, who came in third in the Oct. 24 primary, is something that came as a bit of a surprise. “I truly believe that Louisiana cannot take another [four] years of Buddy Caldwell’s bad practices and policies,” Baloney said on Nov. 2, when she endorsed Landry, according to the Acadiana Advocate .
But Louisiana politics are complicated. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., in a tight race with Democrat John Bel Edwards in Saturday's gubernatorial run-off , found that out when Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a Republican who fell short in the gubernatorial primary, endorsed Edwards. Dardenne said Vitter would further damage a party dented by GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Jindal, Louisiana's outgoing two-term governor and a former House member, dropped out of the 2016 presidential race on Tuesday after failing to get his campaign off the ground . He faced criticism back home for neglecting the state in favor of his pursuit of higher office.
Asked to comment on his base of support, Landry's media consultant, Brent Littlefield, said the former congressman gets along with political friend and foe alike. "Jeff really had a great work relationship with everybody, Democrat or Republican, regardless of political differences," Littlefield said. "He was there to do the right thing."