Expect Landry to run for current job when he feels ready
In less than six months, Congressional elections will have occurred. The clock is ticking and it’s getting late for prospective candidates, especially for those in competitive contests. So why doesn’t Rep. Jeff Landry announce he’s going to run reelection, albeit in a reconfigured district?
The freshman Republican by residence would find himself competing in a district where another, longer-term incumbent Republican Rep. Charles Boustany already has announced a try for a fifth term, courtesy of reapportionment that forced combining of their current districts when the state’s population did not increase as fast as did others. This new district contains a little more of Boustany’s current district than Landry’s and Boustany’s longer presence in Washington has built up more of a support network among fellow elected Republicans for assistance and cash (about double what Landry has), which makes him the early favorite.
Despite these advantages, early on the putative race would be judged as close as Landry can count on more fervent support. Already, more than one group has by word and by deed has pledged support to him, so it seems clear he would be quite a competitive candidate if he would run. Thus, there seems little reason for his hesitation unless he does not plan to run for this office.
That seems unlikely. The most likely other target of his would be to challenge vulnerable Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, but that is in 2014, and any state election that year or the next. While one could argue that a good strategy for Landry if the Senate is his actual target would be to conserve resources for that contest, better would be to use much of those resources in a present contest to keep name recognition in place in a portion of the state, and even some statewide, in a contest where current information indicates great competitiveness on his part, as opposed to a future contest where his chances are much less certain and name recognition will have deteriorated – and perhaps against another tough Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Also a possibility is that, with a view towards unity, to avoid the debacle Republicans experienced in the district in 2004, when in-fighting allowed a Democrat to win and stay there for three terms. That race featured bitterness between the two leading contenders, where the one aced out of the general election runoff campaigned negatively against the victor of the two with an eye towards future elective office. As a reward for not running, Landry could end up with a plum Washington job in a GOP presidential administration. But that future is not a sure thing, and neither would Landry’s assertive conservative politics mesh well with the pragmatic approach that likely presidential nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney takes.
If then that he will run in 2012 for the facsimile of his current office, then the hesitancy must have a rationale. Intra-party success may be a reason, for a different incentive for Landry. By having one GOP candidate hold off, it provides reduced ability for Democrats to get a candidate that might be able to exploit a rancorous intra-party Republican matchup and perhaps repeat that event.
It also allows Landry, with lesser resources, to leverage them better. It gives him the opportunity behind the scenes to continue to raise money with an implicit nod to running again while not starting the full-blown costs of the campaign until he feels necessary. That is, until the point there can be greater traction in winning an election by active campaigning, don’t, in his position. As opposed to Boustany, who as the favorite with superior resources can enter earlier in order to press that advantage.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:35