Landry announces he'll challenge Boustany in GOP member matchup

Freshman Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) will challenge fellow Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), he announced Monday evening.

"There are some Republicans who claim they are conservative but vote like liberals.  It happens – because they're more interested in keeping their jobs than fighting for your jobs," he said in his announcement, blasting Boustany. "The only way to fix that is to send real conservatives to Congress and not re-elect career politicians, and it is why I am announcing, right here tonight, right now, that I am running for re-election to the United States Congress."

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Landry went on to slam Boustany for accepting congressional health and pension benefits.

The district is mostly Boustany's — his state house allies made sure of that during redistricting — but Landry has a more conservative voting record and some strong Tea Party support in the state that helped him pull off an upset win in his first run for Congress two years ago.

The fight is likely to get nasty: Landry had no qualms attacking Boustany by name in an interview with The Hill shortly after the announcement, and said the biggest difference between the two was "conviction."

"If Charles really wanted to keep me from running he could have had a better conservative record," he said when asked about Boustany's allies' attempts to get rid of him in redistricting.

"Charles has been in Congress for over eight years," he said. "What problems has he solved? The people of Louisiana are looking for problem-solvers, not people looking to get reelected."

The two were long expected to wind up battling each other this cycle — Landry joked that his plan to challenge Boustany was the "worst kept secret in Washington" — but Landry's announcement makes the race official.

Landry is an ally of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), while Boustany is closer to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), setting up a possible conflict between the state's two top Republicans.

One factor that could greatly affect the race: Louisiana has a top-two "Jungle Primary," meaning there are no party primaries and the top two finishers wind up in a runoff regardless of party. That means that in the GOP-heavy district the two could theoretically both make the runoff on election day in November. That could give Landry the edge in a low-turnout runoff election, although Boustany has more crossover appeal.