Wednesday, August 24, 2011
By Jeremy Alford
Photos by Daniel Landry
Rookie Congressman Jeff Landry of New Iberia found a home in the Tea Party and an alliance with Sen. David Vitter. But is either a path to re-election?
It was easy to write off Jeff Landry last November. Granted, he had just clinched the 3rd Congressional District and toppled former state House Speaker Hunt Downer in the process. But Landry, an Iberia Parish attorney who hadn’t held elective office before, was also immediately labeled as the odd man out.
Louisiana was just beginning the process of redistricting, and one of its seven congressional districts needed to be axed. All of the smart money was on Landry’s 3rd, especially since he was new to the fold, and the special redistricting session conducted by state lawmakers earlier this year made good on those bets.
Instead of running for re-election in his own congressional district in 2012, Landry will be forced to face off against fellow incumbent Rep. Charles Boustany, a Lafayette native likewise under the Republican banner. Up until recently, that hasn’t boded well for Landry.
In fact, after the spring redistricting session put all the pieces into motion, officials with the Louisiana Republican Party lobbied Landry to run against Attorney General Buddy Caldwell. But that was back when Caldwell was still a Democrat. He has since switched parties and was endorsed just last week by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Metairie Republican.
It was a comic twist of fate, considering Landry and Vitter have become among the closest of Louisiana allies on the Hill. Recent radio ads have been publicizing a set of town hall meetings the pair is holding this week in Lafayette and Lake Charles — the two most populous hubs in Boustany’s current 7th Congressional District.
The radio script mentions Vitter and Landry five times — together, as a team almost. And it’s not a well-guarded secret that Vitter and Boustany are anything but friends. Does this mean Vitter is getting involved and endorsing the rookie from New Iberia? “I wouldn’t want to speculate on that,” Landry says. “But I think it’s safe to say the senator and I do enjoy a very close relationship when it comes to politics and issues.”
Landry says he first sparked a relationship with Vitter as a political contributor dating back at least a decade. Then in 2007, Landry ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate and received support from the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, which Vitter helped create.
Vitter is still raising money for LCRM, an entity with no connections to the Louisiana Republican Party. Instead, Gov. Bobby Jindal is among the main architects behind the party’s coordinated approach this year, which is one of the many reasons there’s a developing narrative that is pitting Vitter against Jindal for control of the heart of the state party.
While the relationship between Vitter and Landry seems to be ripening only now, sources say the pair truly bonded over the redistricting process, which Vitter supposedly watched closely with a keen eye on Boustany’s fate.
At a glance, the two men have a lot in common, aside from their aggressive style of politics. Both have been charbroiled by opponents on touchy issues — Vitter for a prostitution scandal, Landry on old business dealings and military service — and both have been acquitted, so to speak, by the electorate. Both are still standing.
Last week, a Vitter staffer called Landry a “more Cajun version of David.” Landry laughed when he read the line. “I certainly take it as an honor,” Landry says. “It’s flattering. He’s a person I can trust, someone who will shoot straight with me.”
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
The Latin Music Festival returns to Parc International this Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 10 p.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
T&T show behind the scenes
Four bedroom in Breaux Bridge or four bedroom in Opelousas
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims.
Museum of Fear opens its 2014 season with more scares than ever before.