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Continued Landry political career likely with wise choosing

Whether one finds his political preferences congenial, give outgoing Rep. Jeff Landry credit for WYSIWYG until the very end of his single term in Congress, a characteristic that will affect both ways chances of any political future he might have.

Republican Landry showed he had a political potential when in 2007 he almost knocked off a very established Democrat incumbent in the state Senate in his first foray for elective office, after having worked as a staffer in that body. By 2010, with the Democrat incumbent of his Congressional district, which was rumored to disappear in two years due to redistricting, making a hopeless escape for a U.S. Senate seat, he waxed the field to pick it up, joining a large number of freshmen fiscal conservatives in the body.

Events did conspire to eliminate the district, forcing him into a district with another sitting and more senior Republican member, Rep. Charles Boustany, so his entire congressional career operated in the shadow of having to face a popular incumbent. Therefore, no separation ever occurred between his bombastic campaign rhetoric and that of his governing.

But the two were very alike anyway, which had helped propel him to office. Landry tapped into well the escalating unease that Americans in general and specifically a majority in his district felt at a huge federal government debt accumulation far beyond historic norms that increasingly has dampened any near-term economic recovery prospects, married as it is with the fruits of that debt being spent in inefficient ways more suited to creating dependency than opportunity while other, far more effective strategies were blocked by Pres. Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats. He consistently argued for the opposite, as in criticizing the recent deal to increase taxes on high earners, continue tax breaks that pander more than produce, and leave the spending side of the equation (except for shoring up Social Security through elimination of the inefficient temporary payroll tax cut that funds the program like a premium) essentially untouched.

This bombast, however, turned off some potential supporters, especially when it came to his reelection campaign. Both Landry and Boustany are conservatives, Landry a little more so but not that significantly. This meant Landry had to ratchet up the rhetoric in the campaign to draw distinctions, a move which alienated some potential future supporters at least for the near term.

That complicates a 2014 potential Senate run against Democrat incumbent Mary Landrieu, who whistles in the wind when she urges GOP competitors to “bring it on.” In a field that could have among Republicans the likes of term-limited Gov. Bobby Jindal and more senior and better-known Rep. Bill Cassidy, Landry will need every contributor, bundler, and organizer he can get and the rancor in the recent campaign may have dimmed some enthusiasm for him from this crowd. After a defeat for reelection, politicians need a win, for few ever come back into equivalent-or-higher office after two losses consecutively as that gives the impression their time has passed.

Another avenue could be statewide elective office, and with Jindal’s departure several could open up depending upon how many of the minor elected executives chase the governorship. Of the likely ones to come open, perhaps treasurer would be Landry’s best fit, as he has been a small businessman and certainly can point to his House experience dealing with fiscal matters and demonstrated fiscal conservatism as assets here. He’d have to start money-raising anew as state law prohibits the use of federal campaign funds to be transferred into a state campaign, although the most recent figures showed he had less than $200,000 anyway in that account, which may have gone close to zero as a result of the general election runoff of last Dec. 8, the monetary statistics of which have yet to be reported – another reason why he might abjure a Senate run when Cassidy, for example, has over $2 million in his campaign coffers.

Regardless, the key for him in an future ambitions is to run for something at a point where he remains fresh enough in the minds of voters, but where enough time has elapsed to let subside at least some hard feelings from his slash-and-burn campaigning. He built a record that gives him a shot at continuing, and then perhaps progressing further, a political career at a statewide level, and a campaigning ability and plainspoken style that can win elections in Louisiana. Now he just must choose wisely, because at this level it’s only two strikes and you’re out.

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