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Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne crosses party lines by endorsing Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards for governor

GOP calls him a traitor



  Fallout from last week's endorsement of Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards by Jay Dardenne — the Republican lieutenant governor who finished fourth in the gubernatorial primary — was mighty entertaining if you weren't Edwards' opponent, U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

  "Today Jay Dardenne became the Nick Saban of Louisiana politics," declared Roger Villere, head of the Louisiana Republican Party. "After decades of using the Republican Party and its members for his benefit, Jay has decided to end his political career by supporting a candidate who opposes every public policy position that he once espoused."

  The state GOP also made public a letter to Dardenne signed by Villere and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. In it, the men called Dardenne's endorsement "an act of betrayal to the Republican party. ... We do not think you would personally endorse the likes of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton but supporting Mr. Edwards is one in [sic] the same," the letter concluded.

  The cross-party endorsement took a lot of air out of former Gov. Mike Foster's endorsement of fellow Republican David Vitter the day before. "I won't demean John Bel Edwards," Foster said in a statement. "But I'm very concerned about the Democratic Party he's beholden to. ... The Democratic Party gaining control of Louisiana scares me."

  On social media, the Twitter account @JohnBelObama — which has tried to tie Edwards to President Barack Obama — immediately tweeted a composite image of Edwards, Obama and Dardenne, labeling it "peas in a pod."

  In his endorsement, Dardenne said Gov. Bobby Jindal had damaged the "Republican brand" in Louisiana. Jindal's presidential campaign manager, Timmy Teepell, took exception to that, saying GOP leadership in the state had produced "more jobs, higher incomes, a bigger economy" and many other achievements.

  And then there was Marsanne Golsby, once press secretary to Foster and more recently Dardenne's communications director, who had strongly endorsed Edwards almost immediately after the Oct. 24 primary. On her Twitter account (@marsannegolsby), she tweeted, "BUH-BYE, VITTER!" on the news that Dardenne would be endorsing Edwards. But when her former boss Foster endorsed Vitter, her Twitter account read:

  "This is Adam. Aunt Marsanne will be fine once the meds arrive & we can remove the restraints."

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