BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The race for the Louisiana Attorney General's Office produced a major surprise Tuesday.
The Republican Party of Louisiana announced its supporting former Congressman Jeff Landry to be the state's next AG and not the incumbent who is also a Republican. When asked, party leaders said such a move could be taken as a statement since it hasn't been done in Louisiana since the governor's race in 1991.
The party's chairman refused to provide many specifics as to why the party endorsed Landry over incumbent Buddy Caldwell.
"It is a difference. You know, normally you would consider that the endorsed candidate would probably be the incumbent. In this case we felt like Jeff was a better candidate, and our endorsement and our support is with Jeff Landry," Republican Party Chair Roger Villere said. "It's not that we are not going to support Buddy. It's that we're going to support Jeff."
Landry would not get specific in his criticism of Caldwell. Landry's campaign stressed that Louisiana needs a "hard-working" attorney general.
"I think that the Attorney General's Office gives me an opportunity to show to the voters, especially in a time when trust in government is at an all time low, that they can trust our government," Landry responded to a direct question about Caldwell's work ethic.
When asked again to describe Caldwell's work ethic as attorney general Landry again avoided a direct answer.
"You have to ask Buddy Caldwell about his work ethic. I would say that I'm a hard worker," Landry said.
And when pressed a fourth time for an answer Landry added, "Again, look I'm not here to judge Buddy Caldwell's work ethics or how hard he works. I'm here to tell you that we can do much better in the Attorney General's Office."
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell was not available to be interviewed. His campaign instead released a statement saying in part, "The endorsement of Jeff Landry doesn't change anything from our perspective. We would have welcomed the endorsement, but we weren't counting on it. The state party has never endorsed me before, so it might have been bad luck to get it this time."
The primary election is October 24.