Right now they’re just shadowboxing. They’re throwing jabs at an imaginary opponent from the comfort of their Beltway offices, shuffling in their shirtsleeves and loosening up their political muscles. They’ll have to weigh in by qualifying in mid-August, and the primary fight, where all candidates will have to slug it out on one ballot, is slated for Nov. 6. A runoff, if needed, has been prepared for early December.
Although any qualified candidate in the 3rd Congressional District can enter the ring, the contest has thus far been defined by two very different Republicans: incumbent Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette and Rep. Jeff Landry of New Iberia. Technically, both enjoy the status of being an incumbent congressman, only Landry’s district was eliminated during the recent redistricting process.
There was a great deal of drama in that process, and it helped shape the race as it appears before us today. That’s all to say there are other personalities that could help direct the narrative in the coming months. In Landry’s corner is U.S. Sen. David Vitter, who, more notably, is definitely not a Boustany booster in any shape or form. Boustany, however, does have a close relationship with Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has had frosty relations with Vitter over the past few years.
Should both Vitter, whose poll numbers have been trending upwards, and Jindal, whose numbers are dipping, get involved in the race, it’ll be monumental. Not only will real cracks begin to show in the GOP, but a whole segment of the electorate alienated by Jindal — teachers and state employees — could become a factor.
African-American, Democratic and independent voters are wild cards as well. Sources say Boustany has inroads to black communities, built partly by his family’s deep roots in Lafayette proper — his late father was parish coroner — and through the old-fashioned way, meaning cash, like campaign dollars and federal money.
Landry’s campaign, meanwhile, proudly boasted two years ago of his strong showing in black precincts. Landry was likewise successful in courting conservative independents, like tea party voters, in 2010. He may be aided by the fact that non-Republicans in the newly drawn district have had more time to watch Boustany’s stances conflict with theirs.
Democrats have yet to offer up a viable candidate, but that would certainly add a new layer of mystery. They would have to be well-funded. According to first quarter fundraising, Boustany has $1.5 million in the bank and Landry has $820,000. While that gives Boustany an advantage, expect Landry to attempt to leverage his underdog status. He’s accepting donations carefully at this stage and won’t be shy about pointing at Boustany’s PAC donations — for this cycle, Boustany has $684,000, the highest amount in the Louisiana House delegation; Landry has $140,000, the smallest tally.
The new ballots may become a factor as well, as New Iberia voters see Boustany in their booths and Lake Charles voters find surprise with Landry’s name. We’re basically talking about folks who have no idea that redistricting happened.
Pearson Cross, political science professor at UL Lafayette, says that portion of the electorate will soon begin to shrink. The very nature of American politics will prompt candidates to spend money, and media organizations will react by ramping up coverage. “My sense is voters will adjust to the changes pretty quickly, but there might be some hangover pains as a result,” Cross says. Joshua Stockley, a political science professor at UL Monroe, agrees. “There will probably be a few people who will have some confusion. How much? That’s hard to ascertain right now,” he says. “But it’ll only be minimal. And it probably won’t last.”
For now, it’s all about getting in shape. But that won’t last long, either, because, eventually, punches will be thrown. Landry’s business background became a source of negative attacks two years ago, and Boustany has a list of policy decisions that can easily be spun to his detriment — voting to raise the debt ceiling chief among them. That’s all to say that when the final bell rings, this particular fight might be decided by the man who can take, not throw, the most punches.
State Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, surprised few in the Hub City Wednesday afternoon when he made (semi) official what most of us have known for months: He is running to replace Joey Durel as city-parish president.
Two bedroom town home or three bedroom contemporary home
Let the party begin
Louisiana's first black Republican state senator since Reconstruction — who was a Republican before he was a Democrat before he was a Republican again — is accusing Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of using the black community for votes and providing nothing in return.
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
Rachel Hector returns home to cultivate a generation of yoga instructors.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
It is distinctly possible control of the U.S. Senate will hinge on Louisiana, which is why, during the last several months, outside groups have made this the most expensive election in Louisiana history.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A constellation of South Louisiana musical stars descends on Parc Sans Souci to honor an ailing David Egan.
INDStyle Awards 2014 was one for the books; the American Cancer Society took over The Victorian's big tent; and the battle of the sexes was alive and well for Walk a Runway's Christmas fundraiser.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra teams up with choreographer Clare Cook for a modern take on a Stravinsky classic.
Local food pantries begin seasonal drives
A girl's best fashion friend
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Creative living flourishes at Downtown’s artist hub
Four bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
Bold looks for fall define INDStyle Awards 2014
Statement pieces for the season
The gents venture out
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.