Jeff Landry was less than 200 votes shy of winning the Republican primary for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District outright on Saturday. According to results from the Secretary of State's office, the New Iberia attorney won 12 of 13 parishes in the district. He handily won his home parish of Iberia, as well as neighboring St. Martin and dominated in some lower river parishes including St. James and St. Charles.
Former state Rep. Hunt Downer's strongest support was in his home parish of Terrebonne, where he won 64 percent of the vote, and a respectable showing by third candidate Kristian Magar, who ran on a shoestring budget, appear to be the main factors that forced the race into a runoff between Downer and Landry, scheduled for Oct. 2. (Downer finished with 36 percent of the vote; Magar garnered 14 percent.)
The ultimate winner will go on to face well-funded Democrat Ravi Sangisetty in the November general election. The drawn-out primary, which has already turned negative and expensive, has concerned at least one conservative group who feels it's time for Republicans to unite. WDSU reports that the Tea Party of Louisiana has called for Downer to drop out of the race. “Mr. Downer should do what’s in the best interest of the liberty movement and withdraw from this race," spokesman Chris Comeaux says. "It’s not going to get any easier for him.” Comeaux adds that his organization plans to actively campaign against Downer.
The retired major general is not ready to give up the fight. The Downer campaign released the following statement regarding their intention to continue on, and perhaps try to elevate the discourse in a race that has already devolved into mudslinging. "I am excited about the next month talking about the issues that affect South Louisiana and the future of America with the residents of South Louisiana," he said. "I got in this race to build a better America for our children and grandchildren. I have always run a race on the issues and am confident the next phase of this campaign will be focused on the future and not the past."