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.
In this letter to the editor, Lafayette Parish School Board member Shelton Cobb (the board's former president) weighs in on the difficulty behind this year's budget process, calling out a number of his fellow board members over their inability to drop their power struggle with the superintendent and make the interests of the students a top priority.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
A refreshing twist at a Lafayette institution comes served with a black bean salad stuffed avocado
Marijuana source of disputes for HOAs; experts say still safe to fly; Russian-supported attacks on Ukraine and more national and international news for Friday, July 25, 2014.
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
Style market slated for old Artesia
The city prosecutor has released the case file for Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion’s simple battery complaint against Superintendent Pat Cooper, and the seven witness statements given to police illustrate two very different scenarios.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Citing conflicting witness accounts, the city prosecutor will not pursue Tehmi Chassion’s allegation of simple battery against Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Smoked meat, fresh sides and the best boudin around