Louisiana GOP leaders eye Republican field after Iowa caucuses



Posted on January 3, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 3 at 11:22 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana voters, including members of the state's Republican Party, are are watching the Iowa caucuses closely.

In just a few months, Louisiana will get a chance to show its primary colors.

"This is what makes Iowa a big deal. It signals to the general public that the nominating process is here and we need to start paying attention because one of these individuals could be the next president," said UNO Political Science Professor Ed Chervenak.

Gov. Bobby Jindal made appearances in Iowa this week in support of his presidential pick, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Chervenak said Perry would be a popular choice in Louisiana.

"I would assume that Rick Perry would be a favorite because he's a neighboring governor and our own governor is out there supporting him in Iowa. The more conservative the candidate, the better they'll do in Louisiana," Chervenak said.

Sen. David Vitter was also watching Tuesday night's developments closely. He said it's too early to endorse a specific candidate.

"I'm like a lot of Republican voters still looking carefully at the field, trying to decide who is the best leader and who has the best chance in the fall," Vitter said.

While Iowans find themselves in the center of the presidential political campaign storm, Louisiana's GOP party chairman said many of the front-runners would be good for the state.

"I think a lot of them will be good for Louisiana. Most of them have all been here. We had our big Republican conference and all the big candidates came down for that. They all seemed very open and willing to work with our governor," said La. GOP Chairman Roger Villere.

Although Iowa only marks the beginning of the presidential race, Chervenak said it can sometimes reveal potential party leaders.

"After tonight [Tuesday night] we'll get some clarity about who the republicans support," Chervenak said.

Voters in Louisiana will get a chance to weigh in on their presidential pick during the state's primary election, which is scheduled for March 24.