Louis Elwood Jenkins, known as Woody Jenkins (born 1947), is a conservative politician and a community newspaper publisher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who served in his state's House of Representatives from 1972 to 2000. He is particularly known for his three unsuccessful races for the United States Senate -- in 1978 against J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., in 1980 against Russell B. Long, and in 1996 against Mary Landrieu.
Jenkins was a youthful Republican who worked as a page for state Representatives Morley A. Hudson and Taylor Walters O'Hearn, both of Shreveport, the first members of their party to be elected to the Louisiana House since Reconstruction. However, he switched affiliation to Democrat to be elected to the state legislature in 1972. In 1994, after twenty-two years in the state house, now District 66, he returned to the Republican Party and was elected in 1995 as a Republican for his final legislative term in an otherwise heavily Democratic district. In 1996, he narrowly lost the Senate race to Landrieu in the same election in which Bob Dole of Kansas was defeated for the presidency by Bill Clinton of Arkansas. Jenkins claimed that fraudulent votes cast in New Orleans in the names of deceased persons provided Landrieu's narrow margin of victory, but the Republican-controlled Senate under Trent Lott of Mississippi declined to investigate his charges and seated Landrieu, who still holds the position.
In 1999, Jenkins was defeated by a fellow Republican, Suzanne Haik Terrell, in a race for the since disbanded post of Louisiana elections commissioner, a position which had been created in the late 1950s by then Governor Earl Long.
In the spring of 2008, Jenkins made an unsuccessful bid in a special election for the United States House of Representatives to fill the seat in the Sixth District of Louisiana vacated by the retiring Republican Richard Baker. That post is now held by the Republican Bill Cassidy, one of three physicians representing Louisiana in the U.S. House..
In 2012, Jenkins was elected to a four-year term as the chairman of the Republican Party in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Jenkins is particularly known for his strict constructionist views of the United States Constitution. He was chairman of the Conservative Caucus in the Louisiana House, which began in 1972 with only four members. Jenkins holds both journalism and law degrees from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He operates two community newspapers in East Baton Rouge Parish: the Central City News and the Capital City News.
Jenkins is married to the former Diane Aker, an attorney and political activist..