Jenkins Won’t Run Again in Louisiana

Posted July 9, 2008 at 9:35am

With general election qualifying under way in Louisiana today, failed 6th district special election candidate Woody Jenkins (R) offered an early surprise by announcing that he would not run again for the Baton Rouge-based seat in the fall.

The move is seen as a boost for Republicans in their fight to win back the seat that they lost in a special election two months ago.

Jenkins, a former state Representative, lost to now-Rep. Don Cazayoux (D) in the second of three especially painful special election loses for the GOP this spring. Since that election, national Republican leaders have referred to Jenkins as a “flawed candidate,” and party officials in Washington, D.C., had been skeptical about his chances of defeating Cazayoux in a fall rematch.

From the minute he lost to Cazayoux, Jenkins, who was also the GOP nominee in the 1996 U.S. Senate race, had been planning to run again in the fall.

But Jenkins said Wednesday morning that though he expected he could win a primary against state Sen. Bill Cassidy (R), who announced his intention to run in June, “it could have gotten divisive.”

Cassidy wasn’t a candidate during the spring special election, but he appears to be the candidate that state party officials, including popular Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), are lining up behind.

Jenkins said that after much prayer, he made his decision to skip the race on Tuesday.

“It’s a difficult year for Republicans and it’s very important that we’re united,” he said.

A week after Cassidy announced his intention to run, businesswoman Laurinda Calongne (R), who lost the 6th district special election primary to Jenkins in April, announced that she would not be a candidate again in the fall.

Jenkins said Wednesday that though qualifying is still open, “I think Cassidy probably is going to be the only candidate and he will be a good candidate. … It’s just important that we all pull together to put our candidate over the top. We can’t be fighting each other and expect to win in these kinds of districts.”