The Landrieu family’s legacy in Louisiana is unquestionable. Mitch is the current New Orleans mayor. He also served as the state’s lieutenant governor. Moon Landrieu also served as mayor for the Crescent City. Mary has been a U.S. senator since 1997 and is running for another term.
While her family’s political legacy in Louisiana is unquestionable, one Republican Senate candidate, as well as a publication, has raised questions about her residency in the Pelican State.
Republican Rob Maness submitted a complaint to Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler and the district attorneys in Orleans, St. Tammany, Ouachita, and East Baton Rouge parishes on Aug. 29.
Orleans was selected since that’s where Landrieu claims to live, according to the Senate candidate. St. Tammany and Ouachita were selected because documents from the parish assessor’s office for an empty lot list Landrieu’s home address in Washington, D.C. East Baton Rouge was selected because that is where the incumbent submitted her election qualifying forms.
“The Constitution, Louisiana law, and common sense says candidates for Senate have to live here when they qualify – all of the evidence shows that Mary Landrieu doesn’t live here,” Maness said in a news release.
Although Maness made the complaint and it was exposed by one report, a lawsuit filed by a Louisiana state legislator was dismissed in less than an hour.
The issue has also been salient around the state capitol as state Rep. Paul Hollis (R-Covington) filed a lawsuit about Landrieu’s residency.
The Times-Picayune stated that Hollis filed the lawsuit alleging that she lives in Washington full time and is unable to represent the state.
That lawsuit was heard Friday, Sept. 5, by Baton Rouge judge Wilson Fields, who dismissed the challenge after hearing 45 minutes of discussion. The U.S. Constitution states that a senator must be an inhabitant of the state he or she represents at the time of election.
Hollis was running for Landrieu’s seat but shuttered his campaign in July.
According to WAFB-TV, Hollis filed the lawsuit challenging whether Landrieu is actually a Louisiana resident. Her residency would qualify her to run for her Senate seat.
Louisiana’s senior senator uses her parents’ New Orleans address for her voter registration.
“I can tell you this is not going away because I think people in Louisiana want a senator that’s an inhabitant of their state,” Hollis told WAFB. “They don’t want a senator who lives in a multi-million dollar mansion in Washington, D.C.”
On a statement of candidacy submitted to the federal elections commission in 2012, she listed Washington, D.C., as her home address.
While Smart Politics, a blog from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, states that it’s not unusual for elected officials to list addresses other than their home address in a Jan. 9, 2014, entry, it identified Landrieu as a District of Columbia resident. “Landrieu’s FEC mailing address, meanwhile, is actually the home she shares in The District with her husband, Frank Snellings.”
On the website Snellings maintains for his real estate practice in D.C. he states his current residence is there.
“After practicing law in Monroe, Louisiana for 19 years while serving as an elected parish official for 12, our family moved to D.C. upon my wife, Mary Landrieu’s election to the U.S. Senate,” the opening sentence in the ‘About Me’ section states. “We purchased a vacant lot on Capitol Hill and built a home on E. Capitol St., four blocks from the Capitol.”
In an email to supporters, Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy also said he believes that Landrieu lives in D.C. and quoted a piece from the Washington Post in an email to supporters.
“I don’t think she lives there,” Fontaine Wells, 65, told the paper. “She might come visit, but come on now, she lives in D.C. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her.”
Wells went on to say that she doesn’t find Landrieu living in D.C. a problem and that she knows the problems state residents face.
“Mary Landrieu lives in D.C.,” Cassidy stated in his email. “She flies around on private jets (illegally) and she votes against our interests. Then she tells us we can’t afford to lose her ‘clout’. This is wrong and we’ve had enough.”
Landrieu’s campaign denies the accusations; however, campaign manager Adam Sullivan does not explicitly address residency.
“You and I both know that Mary Landrieu’s name is synonymous with Louisiana and that her record of fighting and winning for our state is second to none” he said in an email to supporters. “But we need to have the funds to fight back when attacks like this come flying our way, because our opponents aren’t going to stop these unbelievable smear tactics anytime soon.”
In an editorial, The Town Talk stated that those representing the state need some place to reside while they work in Washington.
“But, that does not relieve them of the obligation to be in touch with the needs and concerns of their constituents.”