Newly-elected Louisiana Tea Party Congressman Jeff Landry showed he was of a different breed when he held up a sign that said “drilling=jobs” during President Barack Obama’s 2011 jobs speech to a joint session of Congress.
The gesture angered liberals and the Republican establishment. More importantly, it served as a symbol of Landry’s conservatism and willingness to go against his party’s leadership.
In November, Landry will face another Congressman, moderate Republican Charles Boustany, in a classic Tea Party outsider versus Washington insider battle that will determine which type of candidate represents Louisiana’s Republican third District in Congress.
Louisiana lost a seat in Congress after the 2010 census results came in, so Boustany’s and Landry’s districts were combined into the newly-drawn third district. The new district is mostly on Boustany’s former turf, making Landry, the challenger, and Bousanty, the incumbent. In addition, Boustany, backed by an array of Washington lobbyists, enjoys a fundraising advantage over Landry.
Because of Louisiana’s “jungle primary,” anyone — Republican or Democrat — can run for this seat in November. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the top two face off in a subsequent runoff election.
Landry spoke with Breitbart News and said this race is important in light of the Obamacare ruling. Landry warned that the Obamacare decision “should serve as a wake-up call to the American people to rise up and demand the federal government be a limited government that respects the fifty sovereign states.”
“I will continue to work for Obamacare’s full repeal and … fight for our religious freedom by pushing my fellow Members of Congress to join my amicus briefs with the American Center for Law and Justice in support of Catholic lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate,” Landry told Breitbart News, while hammering Boustany as an unreliable vote on fiscal, social, and foreign policy issues that are dear to conservatives.
On foreign policy, Landry said Boustany’s association with the anti-GOP group, J Street, is more proof that Boustany has “a troubling record of voting against the interests of our great friend Israel.” Landry also noted Boustany voted “to provide military assistance to Pakistan four times in the last year, but he also refused to affirm support of Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Boustany is described as having been “with J Street from the beginning,” accepted J-Street’s endorsement — and was the only Republican to have been endorsed by the anti-GOP Jewish organization — and then refused it only after it was revealed that the anti-Israel George Soros had been funding the organization.
“Charles is the kind of Republican that caused many to lose hope in our Party,” Landry said. “He’s a Republican who claims he is a conservative in Louisiana but votes like a liberal when he gets to Washington, all in an effort to gain power.”
And that is exactly what the Madison project, an organization that monitors how Republicans from safe Republican districts vote in Washington, discovered when they put Landry in their Hall of Fame and Boustany in its Hall of Shame.
In Congress, Landry has walked the fiscal conservative walk, declining his Congressional healthcare and retirement benefits and returning $160,000, which accounted for 11 percent of his office budget, to pay down the debt.
In contrast, Landry notes that Boustany voted to increase Congress’s salary along with then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In addition, while Landry voted against the debt deal and the Super Committee last year, Boustany voted for four debt ceiling increases that were eventually signed into law. Most recently, Landry voted against the re-authorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank while Boustany voted for it.
Landry has received near-perfect ratings on conservative scorecards from Heritage Action (87%), American Conservative Union (96%), Americans for Prosperity (A+), Club for Growth (94%), and the National Taxpayers Union (A). In contrast, Boustany has received considerably less conservative ratings of 63%, 84%, B, 66%, and B from the same respective organizations.
And on social conservative issues, Landry received a 100% scorecard by the Family Research Council while Boustany voted to fund Planned Parenthood.
“I have the courage of my convictions,” Landry said. “I’m not afraid to take on the establishment.”
Before going to Congress, Landry was a small business owner and business attorney, worked in the oil and gas industry. He is also a veteran.
Because of these experiences, Landry said he knows the “importance of making payroll, balancing budgets, and effectively utilizing resources,” the importance of domestic energy production in creating jobs across the country and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, and how burdensome regulations are killing job creation.
“I didn’t come here to change the way Washington talks, I came here to change the way Washington works,” Landry said. “And unless we replace moderates like Charles with conservatives like me, I fear Washington will continue down the path of more spending, more taxes, and more debt.”
Louisiana is trending more Republican and this district will be a safe Republican seat for the decade. In such districts, many conservatives will want someone like Landry who will be a more reliable conservative vote. Look for this race to get much more attention among conservatives as November nears.