When Congress recesses, one imagines that United States senators like Mary Landrieu get on a plane and head back home to the people who put them in office. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen time and time again, that isn’t the reality for a large swarth of elected officials who make Washington, D.C. their permanent residence after election — leaving the constituents who elected them hundreds and sometimes even thousands of miles behind.
Landrieu is now embroiled in a slew of such accusations after The Washington Post reviewed the senator’s federal financial disclosures and local property and voting record. The home which Mary claims as her own in New Orleans is occupied by people with the last name Landrieu, but it isn’t the senator herself. Mary’s octogenarian parents Moon and Verna seem to be the only people that live there, although Landrieu defends that the home is her own.
“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 that might not be enough to save Mary from losing re-election in what is already shaping up to be a hotly contested race for her seat in the Senate. Louisiana’s politics have steadily inched further and further to the right over the years; and although Landrieu herself in far from one of the most liberal Democrats in the Senate, she was already facing stiff competition. Bill Cassidy, Mary’s Republican challenger, has raised $5.6 million in campaign funds to Landrieu’s $5.5 million, despite the Louisiana senator receiving a fundraising push from Vice-president Joe Biden, according to The Times-Picayune. Cassidy has, of course, not wasted any time jumping on Landrieu’s bad press — this could the key to his win in a tight senatorial race.
“Let’s call it what it is: She doesn’t live in New Orleans. She has an address she uses for voting purposes.. . . She literally no longer lives here. She belongs in Washington, D.C. She just chooses Louisiana to get re-elected.”
Cassidy himself has a condo in Washington, according to The Washington Post, but that’s not quite in the same league as the $2.5 million home that Mary and her husband have built on Capitol Hill. However, it’s unclear exactly how much constituents who were already supporters of Landrieu really care, such Fontaine Wells, a neighbor of Mary’s Louisiana address.
“I don’t think she lives there. She might come visit, but come on now — she lives in D.C. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her. I don’t hold that against her.. . . She knows our issues, she knows the problems we have.”
[Image via Getty Images]