Democrat Switches Parties In Louisiana, May Run Against Landrieu

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) may now have a Republican opponent, and it’s a former ally.

State Treasurer John Kennedy announced he would be switching parties and seeking reelection to his statewide office as a Republican.

“For the past several years, it has increasingly been the case that those public servants who have embraced my ideas and my philosophy of trying new approaches are primarily Republicans,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I am grateful for their support and their willingness to try something different. I also believe for this reason it is time to join the Republican Party.”

State party sources believe his decision is to prepare for a Senate run against Landrieu in 2008. Landrieu is considered the most vulnerable Democratic senator up for reelection, running in a state that has trended in a Republican direction over the last several years.

The Bayou State gave 57 percent of their vote to President Bush in 2004, and it has grown more conservative since then. Many registered Democrats have left the state in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) is favored to win the gubernatorial election this fall, succeeding unpopular Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco. And the last member of Congress to switch parties was another Louisianan, Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.).

As a Democrat, Kennedy ran an unsuccessful campaign against Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) in 2004. Vitter played a pivotal role in convincing his former opponent to take another shot at the Senate -- as a Republican.
  • CBSNews

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