After intimating his intentions for months, Jeff Landry has officially entered the race to succeed Charlie Melancon as congressman in Louisiana'a 3rd District (Melancon is vacating the post and running for U.S. Senate against David Vitter). The New Iberia attorney has never held office but is no political neophyte. He directed former state Sen. Craig Romero's unsuccessful bid for Congress in the 3rd District in 2006, and ran for Romero's old state Senate seat in 2007, narrowly losing the runoff election to Troy Hebert.

Early fundraising indicates Landry leading a crowded field of Republicans that also includes state Rep.and former St. John the Baptist Parish President Nickie Monica, Belle Chasse businessman Chris Leopold and Kristian Magar of New Iberia, a UL adjunct professor in the oil and gas business. In campaign finance reports filed for the fourth quarter of 2009 with the Federal Elections Commission, Landry posted $115,000 cash on hand, over $90,000 more than Magar, his closest Republican rival (Landry's total includes $21,000 of his own money). The only other candidate in the race is attorney Ravi Sangisetty of Houma, a Democrat. Sangisetty posted a $253,000 war chest in his year-end finance report, $100,000 of which comes out of pocket.

Landry made his announcement today via a video address to voters posted on his Web site, “Our country is in peril because our government is out of control," he says, "caused by a president and a Congress where free spending and liberal values rein, where the size of our government is growing as fast as our coast is eroding. All the while our economy is in shambles. We need people to run for office who truly want to serve the public and not rely on the taxpayers as their source of income. I am Jeff Landry. That’s why I am running for Congress.”

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