Roll Call: Landry-Vitter forums raise eyebrows

by Walter Pierce

Louisiana pollster Bernie Pinsonat characterizes the incursions into Rep. Charles Boustany's district as "exceedingly unusual."

Photo by Daniel Landry

U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, left, speaks with Louisiana
Oil & Gas Association President Don Briggs at last weekend's Legis-Gator luncheon in Lake Charles.
For more on Landry's political future, read
tomorrow's Independent cover story, Pathfinder."

A pair of public forums addressing federal spending and debt co-hosted by U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has drawn the attention of Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, not for the topics the forums address - Landry and Vitter have forged a fiscal bond since Landry was elected last year and both voted against the debt-ceiling legislation - but for the location of those forums: Lafayette and Lake Charles, both locales within the district of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette.

After Louisiana's congressional districts were redrawn and one of the seven existing districts was eliminated - effectively the 3rd Congressional District Landry currently represents - a primary showdown in fall 2012 between Landry and Boustany became likely since Boustany's district expanded east to encompass Landry's home town. Roll Call cites Louisiana pollster Bernie Pinsonat in characterizing Landry's incursions into Boustany's district as "exceedingly unusual."

In congressionally funded radio ads sponsored by Landry's office airing in the Lafayette market, Landry and Vitter are mentioned as a unit several times, leading to speculation that Landry is using his association with Vitter to polish his conservative credentials and widen his name recognition in Boustany's southwest Louisiana territory. A Vitter spokesman, however, tells The Times-Picayune that the senator's appearances with Landry do not signal a future endorsement and that the impetus for the forums is due more to the pair's common opposition to the recent deal increasing the federal government's borrowing limit.

The forums in Lake Charles and Lafayette will be held Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, of this week.

Boustany, meanwhile, is charting a more mainstream tack than his potential Tea Party-backed 2012 opponent, telling The Daily Advertiser's editorial board last week that while he had no plans to support any tax increases he also would decline to sign any anti-tax pledges, leaving him a little wiggle room on matters of "revenue." Unlike Landry and Vitter, Boustany voted in favor of the debt limit increase.

Read the Roll Call article here.