Sen. Mary Landrieu's Challenger: She Lives in DC, Not Louisiana

Image: Sen. Mary Landrieu's Challenger: She Lives in DC, Not Louisiana (Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 08:11 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Home is on Capitol Hill when Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu filed Federal Election Commission forms.

But The Washington Post, citing federal financial disclosures, local property and voting records, reported the Louisiana lawmaker listed her parents' house in New Orleans as her primary residence to qualify for the ballot in her home state.

Neighbors of the senator's parents, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu and wife Verna, aren't shocked.

"I don’t think she lives there," New Orleans neighbor Fontaine Wells told The Post. "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 added. "She knows our issues, she knows the problems we have."

Michael Fitzgerald, who lives around the corner, said he sees the lawmaker's parents regularly, as well as Mitch Landrieu, Mary’s younger brother and the city’s current mayor, who lives nearby.

"On Election Day, [Mary] is seen at our polling place accompanying her parents," Fitzgerald told The Post. "I have not seen her lately. . . . She’s been in the Senate for — I’ve lost count — 16 years? 18 years?"

She was elected in 1996.

Kelli Wright, who was active in post-Katrina rebuilding in New Orleans, asked The Post: "Is Mary’s address the Landrieus’ family home?"

"I don’t know where she lives," she said. "I’ve never seen her around the neighborhood. It doesn’t mean she’s not here, but I haven’t seen her. We see Moon, we see Verna, we see the mayor."

Louisiana Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, Landrieu’s leading challenger in her hotly contested re-election bid, railed at the incumbent's "chutzpah."

"Let’s call it what it is: She doesn’t live in New Orleans," Cassidy told The Post. "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."

The residency question is the latest point of contention in the much watched Senate race
– with Republicans considering taking legal action, and blasting Landrieu as a Beltway regular.

"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," Landrieu said in a statement to The Post.

Landrieu owns two plots of undeveloped land near her parents, but there's no record she or her husband, Frank Snellings, own a home in the state, The Post reports.

In 2002, however, the couple bought a lot in Washington on which their $2.5 million mansion is built, The Post reports. And Snellings, a former elected official in Monroe, La., has worked for the past decade as a real estate agent in Washington for Coldwell Banker.

Writing on his website, Snellings says his family "moved to D.C." in 1997.

After Landrieu officially filed for re-election last week, tea party-aligned challenger Rob Maness asked Secretary of State Tom Schedler to investigate Landrieu's residency, the Times-Picayune reports.

"A [United States] senator shouldn’t be living with their parents," Maness told The Post. "She’s got plenty of good pay, she’s employed, but she says she’s living with her parents? . . . It’s time for one of us from the state of Louisiana to go fill this seat."

Landrieu's lawyers defend her right to live in D.C.

"She is not disqualified simply because she maintains a residence in the District of Columbia in order to serve Louisiana," Marc Elias and Joseph Wenzinger wrote, The Post reports.

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