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Southwest Louisiana ,
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette. (American Press Archives)

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette. (American Press Archives)

Cost of Louisiana politics is high

Last Modified: Monday, February 04, 2013 10:18 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry, who both vied for re-election for the reconfigured 3rd Congressional District seat last fall, spent more than $7 million total on their campaigns, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

“This was the most expensive House race in state history,” Dr. Henry B. Sirgo, McNeese professor of political science, said Monday. “Generally, Louisiana House races are the same as House races in other states and the trend has been for increasing expenses.”

Incumbents attract a lot of campaign contributions, which is the reason both Landry and Boustany had so much money to spend, he said. During the Dec. 8 run-off, Boustany was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote.

Between the Jan. 1, 2011 and Dec. 31, 2012 election cycle, Boustany raised almost $4.5 million. Boustany spent nearly $4.9 million by the end of the election cycle. During the same time, Landry raised nearly $2.3 million and spent more than $2.2 million, according to reports.

Money spent in the other congressional races were significantly less than the money spent in the battle for the 3rd Congressional seat. For example, incumbent Reps. Rodney Alexander in Louisiana’s 5th District spent more than $1.1 million and John Fleming in Louisiana’s 4th District spent more than $1.3 million during the election cycle.

“Compared to the other races, the Boustany/Landry election was a more heated and exciting affair,” Sirgo said.

Thousands of dollars were also spent on negative ads for both candidates.

“Certainly, the funds were used for a lot of nastiness,” Sirgo said. “Landry came across as strident, and he was seen as more hostile toward President Obama than Charles Boustany was.”

Louisiana had the second biggest rate of improvement in terms of how the Obama-Biden ticket did, Sirgo said.

“People who were for Obama would be more likely to vote for Boustany,” he said. “And Landry was certainly harsher on President Obama than was Boustany.”

Sirgo said he doesn’t anticipate races to be this expensive in the future.

“Unless we lose another House seat,” he added.

Money did not decide this race, Sirgo said, although he said residents can’t blame them for spending it.

Boustany had been around longer and it was Landry’s first term, he added.

Boustany, a retired doctor, represented the 7th District for four two-year terms; Landry, the tea party favorite, was in his first term as congressman of the old 3rd District.

The new 3rd District comprises Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Mary, Vermilion and part of St. Landry parishes. Six of those parishes were in the 7th District, giving Boustany a numbers edge over Landry.

Posted By: Dwight On: 2/5/2013

Title: How much PAC money was spent

Jeff Landry may have spent only 2.2 million directly. But how much was spent by special interest groups to smear Boustany? We could not turn on TV with-out a pro Landry negative ad running. Hours and Hours of this crud. "Landry's more conservative than Boustany etc etc" It was embarrassing and probably lost Landry votes.
I felt sorry for Boustany but did not vote for either. I felt like they are "the same sour wine, different bottles".

I felt sorry for Boustany but did not vote for either. I felt like they are "the same sour wine, different bottles"." />

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