Charlie Buckels

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Charles Lee "Charlie" Buckels

(Louisiana businessman and Republican political activist)

Charlie Buckels.png

Born December 28, 1945
Place of birth missing

Long-term resident of Lafayette, Louisiana

Spouse Peggy Gibbs Buckels

Sharla Buckels Young
Jeremy Alan Buckels
Alma mater:
Louisiana Tech University

Charles Lee Buckels, known as Charlie Buckels (born December 28, 1945),[1] is an insurance businessman from Lafayette, Louisiana, who is a long-term Republican state and local political figure.

The finance chairman of the state Republican Party, Buckels in 2018 headed a committee to make endorsements of GOP candidates for state office. A dispute developed on consideration of endorsement of candidates for secretary of state to replace Tom Schedler, who resigned over a sexual harassment complaint. At first the party considered endorsing three of the five Republican candidates in the race. This left out Moderate Republican state Representative Julie Stokes of suburban Jefferson Parish, and interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who formerly contributed to the reelection campaign of Democratic former U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu,[2] who was unseated in 2014 by Moderate Republican Bill Cassidy. Ultimately the party made no primary endorsement but then supported Ardoin in the runoff contest. Ardoin then won a full term in the regular 2019 elections. He did not seek reelection in 2023.

In 1996, Buckels was an unsuccessful candidate for the since defunct Louisiana 7th congressional district. He finished with 5 percent of the vote; victory wen to the Democrat Christopher "Chris" John. Buckels' congressional vote inadvertenly blocked fellow Republican David Thibodaux of Lafayette from gaining one of the two runoff slots.[3] Chris John who left the House in 2005 after having run unsuccessfully in a bid to defeat Republican David Vitter for the other Louisiana Senate seat. Vitter went on to serve two terms but was defeated in 2015 in a gubernatorial bid by Democrat John Bel Edwards. In 2007, Buckels narrowly lost a regional race for the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. He polled 76,721 votes (49 percent) to 79,697 (51 percent) for Democrat Dale Bayard,[4] who was later defeated by Republican Holly Boffy.

In 2003, with 4,380 votes (29.5 percent), Buckels led the nonpartisan blanket primary for the District 31 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. The second-placed candidate, Donald Trahan, another Republican, polled 4,063 votes (27.3 percent). Two other candidates, Republican Chad Zerangue and Democrat Neil J. "Sam" Melancon, both finished with just under 22 percent of the votes cast.[5] In the runoff contest on November 15, when Kathleen Blanco defeated Bobby Jindal for governor, Trahan prevailed over Buckels by 14 votes, 8,181 (50.04 percent) to 8,168 (49.96 percent).[6]

In 2016, Buckels was an at-large delegate to the Republican National Convention pledged to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who had withdrawn prior to the convention proceedings in Cleveland, Ohio, which approved the successful Trump-Pence ticket.[7] He was also a delegate to the conventions in 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and in 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota.[8] The conventions nominated George W. Bush and John McCain, respectively.

In 2018, Buckels, along with state Representative Julie Emerson of Lafayette Parish, lost a bid for state Republican chairman to succeed the retiring Roger F. Villere, Jr. Instead delegates chose Louis Gurvich with a vote of 55 percent.[9]

In a 2022 radio interview with The Moon Griffon Show, Buckels said that he still favors a return to closed party primaries, rather than keeping the nonpartisan blanket primary, which began in 1975 and later worked to the benefit of Moderate Republicans. Buckels said that he believes closed primaries can be implemented only if a governor favors them. Closed primaries, he said, allow members of a political party to hold their nominees accountable to campaign promises.[10]

In 2022, Buckels was an early supporter of outgoing Attorney General Jeff Landry, who won the governorship on October 14, 2023, with a majority vote in the first round of voting. He and other conservatives convinced Chairman Louis Gurvich and the state committee to endorse Landry even before other intraparty potential opponents had formulated their own plans or made their announcements. Landry cemented a collection of endorsements across the various divisions within the Republican Party.[11]


  1. Charles Buckels. Retrieved on September 6, 2020.
  2. Mary ODonoghue (August 31, 2018; updated July 11, 2019). Louisiana GOP fights over who is conservative enough to endorse. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on September 6, 2020.
  3. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, September 21, 1996.
  4. Louisiana Secretary of Sate, Election Returns, October 20, 2007.
  5. Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 4, 2003). Retrieved on November 21, 2020.
  6. Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (November 15, 2003). Retrieved on November 21, 2020.
  7. Charlie Buckels. Ballotpedia. Retrieved on September 6, 2020.
  8. Buckels, Charlie. The Political Graveyard. Retrieved on September 7, 2020.
  9. Tyler Bridges (February 24, 2018). New Orleans businessman elected new chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on September 6, 2020.
  10. The Moon Griffon Show, April 6, 2022.
  11. Tyler Bridges (October 22, 2023). How Jeff Landry outspent and outflanked the field to become Louisiana's next governor. New Orleans Times-Picayune.