Boustany defeats Landry in Louisiana runoff

December 8, 2012

Rep. Charles Boustany (R) defeated freshman Republican Rep. Jeff Landry on Saturday in Louisiana's 3rd district runoff election.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Boustany was leading Landry late Saturday by about a 3 to 2 margin. 

Boustany's win will give him a fifth term in the House. Landry departs after serving a single term. Boustany's victory is good news for House GOP leadership, as he has a close relationship with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). 

Boustany was expected to win headed toward Saturday's runoff. A majority of constituents in the new 3rd district is represented by Boustany, who also outraised Landry. Internal polling showed Boustany leading comfortably in the closing stage of the race. 

Louisiana lost one U.S. House seat in the decennial redistricting process, prompting Landry and Boustany to run in the same southwestern Louisiana district. On Election Day, Boustany took 45 percent of the vote in an all-party primary, while Landry took 30 percent.  Because no candidate won a majority, the top two finishers proceeded to a runoff. 

Landry had the backing of the tea party group FreedomWorks and conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). He sought to pitch Boustany as an insufficiently conservative Washington insider and bashed him for voting to raise the debt ceiling. Boustany defended his conservative bona fides in the campaign, and argued that he has fought against President Obama's health-care law from his seat on the Ways and Means Committee. 

The end of the Boustany-Landry race brings the 2012 campaign cycle to a close. Beginning in the 113th Congress, Republicans will hold a 234-200 advantage over Democrats, who picked up eight House seats. 

Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois recently resigned his seat, leaving one spot in the House vacant. The vacancy will be filled by a special election next spring. The seat is expected to stay in Democratic hands.

In Missouri's 8th district, Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson will resign from Congress next February. Her seat will be filled by a special election and is expected to remain in Republican hands. 

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Sean Sullivan | December 8, 2012