As expected, Hunt Downer has jumped into the race to replace Charlie Melancon in the 3rd Congressional District, shaking up an already fluid field of candidates. The race now includes two New Iberia Republicans, attorney Jeff Landry and oilfield manager Kristian Magar, and Democratic attorney Ravi Sangisetty of Houma. Another Republican, state Rep. Nickie Monica of LaPlace, bowed out of the race earlier this year upon Downer's expected entrance.

Downer recently retired as a major general from the Louisiana National Guard after serving more than 35 years. He is also a former state representative who served as speaker pro tempore under former Gov. Buddy Roemer and as legislative liaison for Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Downer filed his intentions to run yesterday with the Federal Election Commission. A formal announcement is expected in June. He told the Thibodaux Daily Comet:  “As a father and grandfather, I’m alarmed at Washington’s out-of-control spending, the push for higher taxes, and our ever increasing national debt,” he said. “These are problems we must tackle today. We cannot pass down this burden to the next generation. If there is one thing I’ve demonstrated, it’s that I’m willing to step on toes to get things done. I’ll continue to do the same in Washington.”

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