Jeremy Alford

Esquire backs Boustany, Treen behind Landrieu

by Jeremy Alford

In its new endorsement issue on newsstands now, Esquire magazine gives a big New York nod to Democrat Barack Obama for president, which is exactly what you might expect from a slick, full-color rag that has dedicated not one, but two covers to former President Bill Clinton over the years. But in the magazine’s breakdown of Louisiana’s races, its editors take a surprising turn to the right in endorsing incumbent U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette, a Republican who practically stands for everything Obama is against.

State Sen. Don Cravins, a Democrat from Opelousas, has created a respectable momentum against Boustany by selling himself as a conservative voice for Acadiana. Even though he’ll never match the size of the congressman’s campaign kitty, Cravins outraised Boustany by roughly $30,000 during the most recent campaign finance reporting period. Additionally, a poll commissioned by the Louisiana Democratic Party earlier this month showed Cravins with a one-point lead over Boustany. Nonetheless, Cravins is quite absent in Esquire's analysis:

Boustany's district was first battered by Katrina, then leveled by Rita in 2005. The recovery has been a mess of red tape and cynical GOP stonewalling over spending, but Boustany, otherwise a loyal Republican, has fought both – to the point, he says, of near exhaustion. Here's hoping he comes back for another round.

As for the U.S. Senate race, Esquire returns to form and endorses incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu over GOP state Treasurer John Kennedy:

Louisiana's politics are as full of gators as its famous bayous. Here we have a Democrat who often looks Republican versus a Republican who until last year was a Democrat. The incumbent, however, has the clear edge in experience and legislative success.

Landrieu also has the newfound backing of former Republican Gov. Dave Treen. It may come as a shock to conservatives, but Treen says it’s the type of bipartisanship Landrieu has built a reputation upon. "Sen. Landrieu has always worked across the aisle to get the job done for Louisiana,” Treen says. “She is respected by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and she is able to deliver for our communities when we need it most.”

Treen is just the latest in a long line of Republicans who have opted against backing Kennedy to endorse Landrieu, rather than just staying out of the race. So far 27 GOP officials have jumped to Landrieu’s camp, including four parish-wide officials from Kennedy’s home base.