It’s the sort of thorny political problem that’s popped the campaign balloons of other lawmakers seeking re-election — the residency question…where does the candidate actually live? It’s also the kind of issue that could help decide not only who is elected to the Senate from Louisiana, but also which party controls the upper chamber after the mid-terms.
The campaign of embattled Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu is in full damage control mode. Major news organizations — The New York Times, CNN, and USAToday—are picking up on the story first reported by the Washington Post — serious questions raised about Sen. Landrieu’s residency…does she, in fact, live in Louisiana, the state she represents?
The original Post story notes that Landrieu and her husband live in a multi-million-dollar mansion near the Capitol in Washington, D.C. — declared in regulatory documents filed by the senator. However, Sen. Landrieu’s voter registration reportedly lists as her residence a home in New Orleans owned by her parents.
Here in Louisiana, however, the Democrat does not have a home of her own. She is registered to vote at a large bungalow in New Orleans that her parents have lived in for many decades, according to a Washington Post review of Landrieu’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting records.
On a statement of candidacy Landrieu filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, she listed her Capitol Hill home as her address. But when qualifying for the ballot in Louisiana last week, she listed the family’s raised-basement home here on South Prieur Street.
The New Orleans house, which Landrieu claims as her primary residence, is a new flash point in one of the most closely contested Senate races in the country. Republicans are considering taking legal action to question Landrieu’s residency in the state, arguing that since winning her seat in 1996 she has become a creature of Washington.
The New York Times article points out the immediate attack from Landrieu’s main opponent in the upcoming mid-term election:
“Senator Landrieu…just chooses Louisiana to get reelected,” the challenger, Representative Bill Cassidy, a Republican, posted on Twitter.
Ms. Landrieu’s campaign defended the senator’s living arrangements, noting that she and her family own the New Orleans home together and that Ms. Landrieu and her husband pay taxes and vote in the state.
CNN observes that the critical question of residency has severely impacted the political fortunes of other candidates:
The question of home state residency has hurt other senate candidates recently. Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, lost his seat in the last election cycle after it was revealed he lived in McLean, Virginia, not in the Hoosier state. Similar questions were raised about Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, this year although he was able to win his primary and is expected to be re-elected.
This latest brouhaha has served to darken the cloud already overhanging Mary Landrieu’s senatorial campaign. As Politico recently reported, serious questions of potentially improper travel expensing have also dogged the Louisiana Democrat.
Vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is under renewed scrutiny for potentially violating campaign finance laws by tapping official Senate funds to cover the cost of fundraising trips.
Landrieu is among the lawmakers the GOP believes it can defeat in its bid to take over the Senate and oust Harry Reid as Majority Leader.
Advertisement - story continues below