BATON ROUGE — Incumbent Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell has been passed up by the Louisiana Republican Party in favor of opponent Jeff Landry.
The Republican Party of Louisiana announced its support for former Congressman Jeff Landry over Caldwell in a press conference yesterday.
“Jeff Landry’s record and actions speak truth to power,” Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger Villere said in a press release. “Republicans in Louisiana recognize the need for a change in the Attorney General’s office; and we know Jeff Landry will lead the office with honesty, integrity, and conservative principles.”
Caldwell, who was first elected as Attorney General in 2007 before switching his party affiliation to Republican in 2011, has long faced criticism for his ties to the state’s trial attorneys.
In particular, state lawmakers in the 2014 legislative session curtailed Caldwell’s ability to hire outside attorneys, many of whom are campaign contributors, with no-bid contracts sometimes worth millions of dollars to pursue civil cases on behalf of the state.
Caldwell used such means to file a series of high profile antitrust lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. However, the most high profile use of outside attorneys by Caldwell has been in the Deepwater Horizon case. Of the 11 law firms Caldwell hired to represent the state in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf oil spill, eight are campaign contributors.
Early campaign finance reports show some of those same law firms are bankrolling Caldwell’s reelection efforts.
In response to Republican party’s support for Landry, Caldwell released a statement Tuesday evening.
“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,” Caldwell’s release said.