At a Tea Party-sponsored debate in Louisiana last night, two House Republican hopefuls found a great deal of common ground. According to the Advocate, both support repealing the section of the 14th amendment that establishes birthright citizenship. Both would repeal the 17th amendment, which allows for direct election of U.S. Senators. Both would like to cut, and limit access to, Medicare and Social Security, and let charity organizations fill the gaps.
The two candidates — Jeff Landry and Kristian Magar — are vying to replace House Democrat Charlie Melancon of Louisiana’s third district. They have third opponent as well: one-time Democrat, and former Louisiana House Speaker Hunt Downer, who didn’t attend the debate. Downer is well liked, with broader appeal than his conservative rivals, but a recent change to Louisiana election law means that only registered Republicans can vote in the primary. And in Louisiana — and the third district — that’s a minority of deeply conservative voters.That could be a problem for him. According to The Hayride, one of Louisiana’s most influential conservative blogs, “[s]ome 68 percent of the GOP electorate in the 3rd District identifies themselves with the Tea Party, and after Downer was a no-show at a debate put on by two of the largest Tea Party groups in the state the reaction is anything but pleasant.”
An overwhelming majority of voters in LA-03 voted for John McCain in 2008, but in that district, and across the whole state, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, and even in that anti-Obama district, Melancon ran uncontested.
Whoever wins the GOP nomination will face Democrat Ravi Sangisetty. Melancon is abdicating his seat to run against Republican David Vitter for Senate.