POLITICS
07/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

GOP-Backed Candidate In Louisiana Used To Support His Likely Democratic Opponent

If Jeff Thompson can capitalize on endorsements from Republican heavyweights like House Minority Leader John Boehner and clinch his party's nomination in Louisiana's fourth congressional district, his general election campaign is either going to be very civil or very weird.

In part, that's because Thompson has a lot of nice things to say about his likely opponent, a long-time Democratic District Attorney named Paul Carmouche.

"I have a great deal of respect for Paul Carmouche. I would consider Paul a friend," Thompson told the Politico in April. "I think he's doing a good job as DA in Caddo Parish. I would think it would be a very honorable issues-oriented race."

But ties between the two men don't end at respect.

In yet another sign of the GOP's awful luck this campaign season, Thompson actually worked at Carmouche's firm for a period after graduating from law school, and at one point actually "agreed to be on Carmouche's campaign committee until people started approaching him to run," The Rothenberg Report (not available online) noted last month.

Yet, despite all the endorsements listed on his campaign web site from key Republican officials -- including the individual whose retirement opens up the seat, Rep. Jim McCrery -- Thompson is not a lock to win the Republican nomination. Most significantly, he still faces one tough challenger in Chris Gorman, a businessman who has the ability to self-finance part of his campaign. But if Thompson prevails, it would appear to blunt the ability of the National Republican Congressional Committee to go hard after the same Carmouche record that its own candidate has been willing to praise publicly.

While calls to the NRCC and the Louisiana Republican Party were not immediately returned, a regional press secretary for the Democratic congressional campaign arm agreed with that assessment, saying "if the national Republicans attempt to distort Carmoushe's record, I definitely think [Thompson's praise] would make that attack a little less valid."