According to alleged neighbor Fontaine Wells, 65, of the home Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu has now claimed as her state residence, “I don’t think she lives there. She might come visit, but come on now — she lives in D.C. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her.”
Landrieu’s problem was originally raised in detail by retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Maness hand-delivered a letter to Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler on August 22nd. The full letter is available for view here.
And the issue has suddenly become serious, as the Washington Post points out today.
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.
Furthermore, Landrieu doesn’t get a politics as usual pass. The issue has hurt other incumbents, including Republicans. Her problem seems to be fair game for the GOP to pursue and Democrats can’t really cry foul without being hypocrites – not that that will stop them, of course. even so, this definite adds a new wrinkle to a Senate race already seen as key to the GOP taking control of the Senate in November.
For Landrieu, there are hazardous parallels to other recent cases in which residency questions have dogged incumbents. Former senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) lost reelection in 2012 after reports that he stayed in hotels when he returned to Indiana, while Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) (R-Kan.) is drawing flack this year for not having a home of his own in Kansas and listing a donor’s house as his voting address.