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Monday, 07 February 2011 13:05
Defeating Mary Landrieu For Louisiana US Senate Won’t Be Easy
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Jeff Crouere--Louisiana PoliticsIn the midst of the healthcare debate, some political commentators wrote the political obituary for U.S Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Since Landrieu supported a bill that was very unpopular in the state, she was deemed a political goner. Well, in politics, fortunes can change quickly. During the healthcare debate, Landrieu’s approval rating dipped to 42 percent. Once that bill was passed, attention of the voters became focused on other issues, especially the oil spill. From the beginning, Landrieu opposed the Obama administration’s misguided moratorium on deepwater drilling and the de-facto moratorium which is now in place. Landrieu’s stance has struck a chord with Louisiana voters who support the oil and gas industry in the state. Her approval rating has rebounded to 54 percent, which is approximately the same level as Governor Bobby Jindal.

Still, skeptics noted that Landrieu is now the only statewide elected Democrat. Last week, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell switched to the Republican Party, continuing the recent trend of elected Democrats joining the GOP. In contrast, Landrieu will not leave the Democratic Party, her ties are too deep. She has won three terms as U.S. Senator as a Democrat and her father and brother have been elected as Democratic Mayors of New Orleans. In addition, other Landrieu family members have been elected as Democrats to positions such as judge and school board member.


Landrieu does not face the voters until 2014. She has plenty of time to raise money and improve her political standing. Last week, she held a fundraiser at a Capitol Hill bistro. In a recent interview, she confirmed that she will seek another term. According to Landrieu, "I have served happily for 14 years and intend to serve another term or two should that be the people's wish… I am very comfortable with my centrist record of accomplishment and look forward to continuing to serve Louisiana and working on issues important to the state like our coastal recovery, championing small businesses, and advocating for education reform."

Almost anything can happen between now and 2014, but there is little doubt that Louisiana will stay a conservative, bright red Republican state. Landrieu’s best road to re-election is to distance herself from the left wing of the Democratic Party as often as possible. The cap and trade bill is an example of legislation that the Democratic Party leaders support, but Landrieu opposes. She should also find other issues, such as the de-facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf, to oppose the Obama administration. The President is unpopular in Louisiana and has an approval rating of only 36 percent.


Regardless of whether Obama is still the President in 2014, Landrieu needs to emphasize her centrist positions and build coalitions with Republicans as often as possible. She won a comfortable re-election in 2008 by garnering plenty of endorsements from key Republican politicians. Her challenge is to retain this GOP support and her loyal Democratic votes in the next election cycle. In that way, she has a solid chance of winning a fourth term as Senator and maintaining her position as Louisiana’s senior Senator and only statewide elected Democrat.


Throughout her political career, Louisiana political operatives have underestimated Mary Landrieu. Republicans predicted victory in 1996, 2002 and 2008, only to lose by close, but increasing margins to Landrieu. In 2014, the GOP will attempt to defeat Landrieu once again. Several prominent Republicans will surely consider the race, but as history shows, defeating her will be no easy task.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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