Lake Charles American Press newspaper columnist Jim Beam is characterizing the recent endorsement of Congressman Jeff Landry by the Calcasieu Parish Republican Executive Committee as payback by a disgruntled committee member who was either canned or forced to resign from U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s staff a few years ago. The endorsement was a shocker to many in Southwest Louisiana GOP circles and, according to Beam, a betrayal by an out-of-control committee unconcerned with Republican rank and file:

A Calcasieu Parish Republican Party official who lost his five-year position with U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette got his revenge last month. Bob Dewey plotted behind the scenes to orchestrate a political endorsement for the congressman’s toughest competitor.

Dewey, who is president of the parish GOP executive committee, pulled off the perfect con job when he worked in secret with eight other committee members to endorse U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia.

The 9-3 vote on Aug. 16 to endorse Landry in the 3rd Congressional District race was added to the agenda after the 12 party members who attended got to the regular meeting of the Calcasieu Parish Republican Executive Committee. A called meeting on Aug. 23 in an effort to rescind the endorsement failed on a 9-7 vote.

One member of the committee said not having the endorsement on the agenda was the first mistake and candidates shouldn’t be endorsed in a primary.
The intra-party coup in Lake Charles led to the resignation of one committee member and recriminations a-flight within GOP circles. The Nov. 6 primary pitting mainstream Boustany against tea party Landry, along with another Republican, a Democrat and a Libertarian, is expected to lead to a December runoff between the two sitting congressmen.

Read the rest of Beam’s commentary and analysis of the race here.

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