The state Republican Party doesn’t appear to have done itself any favors last weeekend by announcing that it may move to censure Republicans who have crossed over to publicly support incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in this year’s U.S. Senate race. Landrieu faces Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy in the Nov. 4 election. Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere told reporters, “We are trying to build the party, not look to punish people. But we don’t want this to develop into a trend.” Because any sanctions would require new rules being adopted, the GOP isn’t expected to act on the censures until it resumes meetings next year. Landrieu’s campaign lists more than two dozen Republican elected officials among its supporters. “It sends a message that we are not united,” Villere says of Republicans not backing their party candidate. “It confuses the Republican message.”
While that may be true, the news about possible censures has only served to exacerbate dissension in the ranks, as well as remind voters of Landrieu's GOP support. Two of Landrieu’s Republican supporters, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Normand Newell and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, have already started blasting back at the party leadership. Newell told WWLTV in New Orleans, “When I became a Republican, I did not know that meant there was a blood oath to the Republican Party and that other people would decide for me who was best for the job.” He added, “I’m not sure what sanction is, but they can start with not asking me for money. That would be a start.”
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