After her big loss to Bill Cassidy this week, Louisiana senate Mary Landrieu may not be returning to the Senate next year, but some think her political career might not yet be over. Two statewide vacancies in the next year could leave an opening for the longtime lawmaker, who was the last remaining statewide Democratic officeholder from the South before her loss to Republican Bill Cassidy over the weekend.
Landrieu’s path back to elected office will likely depend on what happens to David Vitter, the Louisiana Republican who currently serves in the Senate with Landrieu. Vitter has already announced his candidacy for the state’s 2015 gubernatorial race, meaning his Senate seat could become open a year earlier than it otherwise would if he wins. Whether in a special election in early 2016 or in the general election in November during a presidential year, Landrieu may decide to jump in to replace the man she currently serves with.
But running as Vitter’s opponent rather than as his successor may be more appealing to Landrieu. A source familiar with Louisiana politics tells National Review Online that some Republicans in the state think a Mary Landrieu gubernatorial run could be in the cards. By running for the Pelican State’s chief executive office, and with the off-year election taking the race off the national stage, she could gear her campaign more towards local and statewide issues rather than having to fend off ties to national Democrats and President Obama that doomed her this past cycle.
Others don’t see her jumping back in to politics, at least not successfully: Landrieu lost by double-digit points to Cassidy, despite the power of incumbency and her family legacy, and is a damaged brand at this point, they say. Even if she were to jump in, her recent showing spells trouble for trying to raise money and rally enthusiasm among base voters.
In her concession speech on Saturday, Landrieu noted that the family has served in politics for decades and “will continue to do so” in the future — maybe a way to open the door for a bigger political future for her brother. Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans mayor and former lieutenant governor, has been rumored to be eyeing a statewide run, for either the governor’s mansion or a Senate seat, and is considered by some to be a better retail politician than his older sister.