A lot of people were surprised when Jim McCrery endorsed Jeff Thompson as soon as he announced for the 4th Congressional District Seat last week.
Lanewslink offered in its commentary on the announcement that "Congressman Jim McCrery (R-Shreveport) raised more than a few eyebrows with his endorsement of unknown Bossier City attorney Jeff Thompson to replace him in the Fourth Congressional District seat. Even more puzzling is the fact that a supposed pro-business, Republican Congressman would get in bed with a known trial lawyer who makes a living off government contracts suing taxpayers."
Politico noted that "Thompson is the first high-profile candidate in the Republican field, and with the congressman’s endorsement, should be the favorite to win the primary."
Note to Politico: Thompson is not high-profile, thus the surprise from everyone.
John Maginnis in his lapolitics.com noted that other, more experienced potential candidates were baffled by the choice. "Rep Wayne Waddell, R-Shreveport, went into a meeting with Congressman Jim McCrery at the State Capitol on Tuesday expecting to get his support in the fall election to fill his 4th District seat. But the three-term legislator was surprised and chagrined when McCrery told him he would instead back Bossier City attorney Jeff Thompson."
McCrery is stepping down for a simple reason, regardless of what he gives as his official reason. In his last election, he pulled only 57% of the vote. Being accustomed to landslides, this, combined with the fact the the Republicans lost the house, was the handwriting on the wall. McCrery simply didn't want to take the chance of being forced into a runoff and losing. In any event, he was poised at the last election to become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committe, and instead has had to sit at the table with Chairman Charlie Rangel. I'm sure this taken a lot of the fun out of the job for him.
Yahoo News reported that "Jeff Thompson, the latest candidate for the open U.S. House seat in Louisiana's 4th District, was not the first Republican to enter the contest to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Jim McCrery. But Thompson entered with a credential that could be particularly helpful to him: the endorsement of the popular incumbent, who has served in the House since 1988 and is leaving as ranking Republican on the influential Ways and Means Committee."
Which raises the question: Is McCrery's endorsement a help or a hindrance to Thompson? He certainly has not generated good feelings with Dr John Fleming or Chris Gorman, who are already running active campaigns for the seat. Apparently, State Rep Waddell is not too thrilled either.
Shreveport Attorney John Milkovich has declared as a Democrat, and is well known and respected in evangelical circles in Northwest Louisiana. If nominated, he will take this vote from the Republicans. Another strong possibility is longtime Caddo Parish DA Paul Carmouche, who enjoys a good level of popularity in the area.
My judgment is that McCrery's endorsement is not worth much. I'm not sure that it will even get him the Republican nomination, but whoever does represent the Republican Party in the election will have a battle on their hands.