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.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.