The full U.S. Congress will return from its holiday break Tuesday with Louisiana delegation members hoping that the stars align their way in the new year.
The delegation dean, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., wants the Obama administration to become more open to domestic energy produced by the oil-and-gas industry. Landrieu has complained that the president has been deaf about Louisiana’s industry concerns.
Landrieu may also want any candidates thinking about challenging her in her next election in 2014 to slip up. It seems like only yesterday that Landrieu successfully defended her seat in 2008. She’s now the only statewide elected Democrat in Louisiana.
Landrieu has had tough Senate races in the past and her next promises to be no different.
Junior U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La. would do well if the Republicans can take back the Senate. Being in the minority, many of Vitter’s amendments get defeated, but he could become a player and a favorite with the tea party crowd if the chamber switches.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, is the House delegation dean and he has already gotten what he wanted last year: The state Legislature completed redistricting leaving Alexander’s north-to-south district pretty much as it was.
Some state legislators had proposed creating an east-to-west district that would have thrown Alexander into a district with incumbent U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R- Minden.
Fleming has already stated his wish for the year: Republicans taking over the U.S. House, Senate and White House. Until that happens, Fleming said, Washington will remain in political gridlock as it pertains to getting legislation passed.
U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, headed into the New Year needing money. Cassidy, who has been talked about as a possible challenger to Landrieu, has raised $1.2 million in campaign contributions but would be looking at a $10 million race against Landrieu.
Republican U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, of Lafayette, and Jeff Landry, of New Iberia, were thrown into the same district when the state legislature had to cut one district out, slicing it from seven to six.
Boustany operates a political action committee that he inherited from former U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, to financially aid fellow Republicans, called the Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism.
When Boustany received the PAC, it had $1.1 million in the bank. But he has less than $350,000 left. Now it will be time for Boustany to collect his debts in running against Landry. Boustany already has a hefty $1.1 million in the bank now.
Landry raised $1.3 million in his 2010 race. Landry kept the money coming in as he faced a bruising campaign against former state Republican House Speaker Hunt Downer.
Landry will likely run against Boustany in the newly created 3rd congressional district. He has proved himself to be a deft campaigner. What Landry will need most this year is name recognition in Lake Charles and Lafayette, the anchors to the district.
Landry has become pals with Vitter, who could provide significant financial help by steering his donors to Landry. Vitter raised $12.5 million in his successful defense of his seat in 2010.
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, needs to keep increasing his profile among leadership in the House, which is controlled by Republicans. Scalise now operates as the national point man in recruiting new Republican candidates to run for office.
He has also staked his place in the House with fiery speeches against the Obama administration over economic and energy policies.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, of New Orleans, needs the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus to thin out a bit. Richmond is a rising star in the caucus, and is likely destined to float to leadership ranks in the future.
Gerard Shields is chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. His email address is GerardShields@aol.com.