Crossing party lines has happened before in Louisiana - a look at the 1979 governor’s race _lowres

Advocate file photo -- Republican Dave Treen, second from left, won a spot in the 1979 gubernatorial runoff against a half-dozen Democratic candidates. Many of the Democrats endorsed Treen against the Democratic candidate Louis Lambert, of Gonzales, in the runoff. The Democrats backing Treen instead of Lambert included Lt. Gov. Jimmy Fitzmorris, of New Orleans, left; Secretary of State Paul Hardy, of St. Martinville, third from left; and House Speaker E.L. Bubba Henry, of Jonesboro, right.

I refer to this weekend's misguided, politically ignorant resolution by the Louisiana GOP as the David Duke Resolution. It is a losing proposition for the Republican brand and a symptom of why the Louisiana Republican Party has lost relevance in winning elections or building the Republican brand. I am a lifelong Republican. I have never voted for a Democrat in a race with a Republican, with one big exception. I cast a vote for Edwin Edwards over Klansman David Duke. I did so because I am a Christian, an American and a Reagan Republican.

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The modern Louisiana GOP was born as a reform movement by conservatives. "Keep it clean with Treen" was the battle cry of the first Republican governor since reconstruction. Scores of Democrat politicians have now shifted their brand name from Democrat to Republican. They hide behind the brand to defend the corrupt status quo. Many put career and special interests before country or state. As a conservative Republican, I'd like to be clear that there wasn't anything conservative about the irresponsible Jindal administration or the past 10 years of "Republican" Louisiana Legislatures. There was nothing conservative about selling valuable state assets at bargain prices to pay operating expenses, crashing Louisiana's credit rating, and draining capital accounts for pet projects. The "swamp" needs to be drained at the Louisiana Capitol and some of it is hiding behind a "Republican" (in name only) brand.

This latest pitiful resolution to extort a forced endorsement for any Republican, no matter how corrupt or irresponsible they may be is a desperate and fearful attempt. Thankfully, we the Conservative Republican citizens of Louisiana, not party insiders, will define what Republicanism is. Until the Louisiana Republican Party remembers that cronyism is not conservatism they are the enemy of real conservative Republicanism in Louisiana. Republican donors and activists are engaging daily to work outside the currently out this out of touch state party structure to "drain the swamp" at the Louisiana Capitol and build a future for our children.

John Mathis

political consultant

Baton Rouge