Democratic senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is already in the electoral battle of her life this November. Her national party is far out of step with Louisiana voters on health care, abortion, and energy issues, and the national mood is continuing to shift against the Democrats. And the leader of that party, President Obama, is deeply unpopular in the Bayou State.
The best card Landrieu had was one she was first dealt: her last name and its legacy in Louisiana. Her father, Moon Landrieu, was a celebrated mayor of New Orleans, while her brother Mitch was Louisiana's lieutenant governor and now serves as the mayor of the Crescent City. Mary Landrieu may be a Democrat, the argument goes, but she is a Louisiana and New Orleans Democrat, like her brother and her father.
But a Washington Post story last week hit Landrieu right where she was strongest. The Post's Philip Rucker reported that the senator did not own a home of her own in New Orleans, or anywhere in Louisiana for that matter. The home she and her husband built, own, and live in is a "$2.5 million brick manse" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Landrieu is registered to vote in Louisiana, but the New Orleans address she gave, on South Prieur Street, is owned by and is the primary residence of her parents. On her statement of candidacy form from this cycle, Rucker found, she lists her Washington address.
Louisiana Republicans pounced on the report and have filed an ethics complaint with the state about Landrieu's residency. A state court has issued two subpoenas for the senator and some specific documents to defend her residency. Landrieu's response to the initial Post report was simply that “I have lived at my home on Prieur Street most of my life and I live there now, when not fulfilling my duties in Washington or serving constituents across the state."
But documents obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD demonstrate that Landrieu, who began serving in the U.S. Senate in 1997, appears to have resided in the nation's capital from her earliest years in Congress, moving among at least three different addresses. These documents suggest Landrieu considered her Washington residences to be more reliable mailing addresses than the New Orleans home at which she claims to live.
In her first year in office, Landrieu sent a voter registration form that lists her residence as the New Orleans house on South Prieur Street and then her mailing address as an apartment building in downtown Washington, D.C. That mailing address appears to have been crossed out and a new mailing address, also in Washington, written in. The form was originally signed by Landrieu on October 21, 1997. See a copy of that form below:
One letter to the registrar of voters in Orleans Parish, dated November 11, 1998, is signed by Landrieu and alerts the official to an address change, from the apartment in downtown Washington to a row house on Capitol Hill. The letter requests the registrar "send all vote related correspondence" to the new Capitol Hill address. See a copy of the letter below:
And finally, in a change-of-address form signed by Landrieu's husband Frank Snellings and accepted by the Orleans Parish registrar's office on August 22, 2002, the senator's mailing address is requested to be updated to a larger home on East Capitol Street. That is the same address as the "brick manse" purchased by Landrieu and Snellings in 2002 that is now valued at about $2.5 million. The form also lists Landrieu's residence as the New Orleans address owned by her parents. See that form below:
Landrieu has been hit hard over the tenuous nature of her Louisiana residence. A new ad from American Crossroads, a conservative PAC, attempts to demonstrate her longstanding ties to Washington. Watch that ad below: