BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany, a veteran Republican allied with House Speaker John Boehner, has trounced freshman GOP incumbent Jeff Landry in an attack-heavy runoff race.
The two incumbents were forced into the same district when Louisiana lost a congressional seat because of anemic population growth in the latest federal census. The state will have six U.S. House seats in the new term that begins in January.
A four-term congressman who had gone into Saturday's balloting favored by the new district design, Boustany will represent the 3rd District covering southwest Louisana and nearby Acadiana.
With nearly all precincts reporting, Boustany led Landry by about a 3-2 margin. About one-fifth of district voters cast ballots on Saturday.
"This looks like a very solid victory. We had a very strong ground game, which was a key element in the runoff. We reached out to a lot of voters with a solid message backed by the results I've gotten in Congress," said Boustany, a retired doctor.
Landry, the tea party favorite, was unable to build enough grassroots support in his bid to oust Boustany. The race had been marked by sharp attacks since both men ran as conservative Republicans opposed to the policies of President Barack Obama and had little philosophical ground in which to distinguish themselves.
Pearson Cross, chairman of the political science department at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, said Boustany was the "de-facto incumbent" throughout the race.