Hanna Nakano Oct. 23, 2015, 12:21pm


A candidate endorsement from the Louisiana Republican Party has the GOP at odds with a coalition of businesses in the state, only hours before the primary.

The Louisiana GOP has publicly supported Stephanie Hilferty in the race for House District 94, against incumbent Republican Rep. Nick Lorusso.

Hilferty is a real estate agent married to a trial lawyer, something the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association sees as a direct threat to the economy of the state.

“A lot of the money and support Hilferty is receiving is from trial lawyers,” said Gifford Briggs, vice president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, said to the Louisiana Record. “Clearly, the impact of lawsuits in Louisiana is well known.”

Gifford cited Louisiana’s ranking of 49th most litigious state in the country as a reason many businesses choose not to open their doors in the state. He says his company, and five others who issued a statement in conjunctive support of Lorusso,want a representative with a pro-business mindset.

“We have an opportunity to elect a conservative, pro-business individual in Nick Lorusso,” Gifford told the Record. “It’s very unfortunate [GOP Chairman] Roger Villere used this opportunity to endorse a candidate not backed by the business community.”

Gifford added he’s not worried about partisan politics but he does care about consistent support of businesses.

“We’ve looked into the candidates that have served, we evaluate their time in office and look at their voting records and if they’re consistently supporting pro-business, we support those candidates.”

Gifford said Lorusso has always supported the oil and gas industry in the state.

Organizations backing Lorusso include the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, Associated Builders & Contractors of Louisiana, Louisiana Home Builders Association, Louisiana Lawsuit Fairness PAC, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, and the Louisiana Business and Industry SOUTHPAC.

Louisiana’s 94th District covers parts of the parishes of Jefferson and New Orleans.

The primary election is scheduled Oct. 24.

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