Landrieu facing residency questions

Greg Nash

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is facing questions over whether she really lives in her home state since she doesn't own a home there.

The questions are similar to ones that have contributed to the defeat and difficult reelection fights of senators this cycle and last, adding to an already heavy load of obstacles that make Landrieu perhaps this cycle’s most vulnerable Democratic incumbent.

The Washington Post is reporting that Landrieu doesn’t own a home in Louisiana, but is registered to vote at her parents’ home in New Orleans.

She does, however, own a $2.5 million house in Washington, which she and her husband built. That address is listed on the statement of candidacy she filed with the Federal Election Commission in January, but the senator listed her parents’ New Orleans home when she submitted forms to qualify for the ballot last week.

Landrieu told the Post in a statement that she stays at her parents’ home when she’s not in Washington.

“I have lived at my home on Prieur Street most of my life and I live there now, when not fulfilling my duties in Washington or serving constituents across the state,” she said.

A limited liability corporation that Landrieu and her eight siblings all hold stakes in owns a house on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, and Landrieu owns two plots of land in the state, but the Post found no evidence the senator and her husband own a home there.

Similar residency questions contributed to the primary loss of former Sen. Dick Lugar (R) in Indiana last cycle, and have lingered over Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) beyond his primary and contributed to his unexpected vulnerability in the general election fight there.

And Landrieu’s Republican opponents have already seized on the details to paint her as out of touch with Louisiana.

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), her main opponent in the race, who owns a home in Baton Rouge, La., and a condo in Washington, said she “belongs” in Washington.

“She has an address she uses for voting purposes. ... She literally no longer lives here. She belongs in Washington, D.C. She just chooses Louisiana to get reelected,” he told the Post.

Tea Party-backed challenger Rob Maness issued a complaint to Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler (R) asking him to investigate the residency issue, pointing to Louisiana election law that says a senator must be “an inhabitant of Louisiana when elected.”

The secretary of State’s office doesn’t address questions of residency, however; such a challenge must be filed in court, a move Maness said he’s contemplating but would need to take by Friday.

But political observers in Louisiana say Landrieu is less likely to suffer from the residency issue than other senators, as there’s no question she’s a Louisianian. 

Her daughter lives in her grandparents' New Orleans home and goes to high school near there. The Landrieu family is also a well-known political dynasty in the state: her father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, is a beloved figure there.

Still, polling has shown Landrieu at times trailing Cassidy, and of all the party's most vulnerable incumbents she appears at this point the most endangered even though the race may be forced into a December runoff if no candidate tops 50 percent in November. 

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