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La. senator’s residency at issue in campaign

WASHINGTON — The embattled reelection campaign of Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana was damaged further Friday by the revelation that she uses her parents’ home address to establish her residency in the state.

Landrieu, a Democrat whose campaign is one of a handful that could determine control of the Senate, is registered to vote at a home in New Orleans that is owned by her parents, but she lists her Capitol Hill home as her address in regulatory documents, the Washington Post reported, based on the senator’s filings.

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On Friday, the senator’s main opponent pounced.

“Senator Landrieu belongs in Washington, D.C. She just chooses Louisiana to get reelected,” the challenger, Republican US Representative Bill Cassidy, posted on Twitter.

Landrieu’s campaign defended the senator’s living arrangements, noting that she and her family own the New Orleans home together and that Landrieu and her husband pay taxes and vote in the state.

In a written statement, Landrieu said: “I have lived at my home on Prieur Street most of my life and I live there now, when not fulfilling my duties in Washington or serving constituents across the state.”

The Post quoted a memo from her lawyers stating that she was “not disqualified simply because she maintains a residence in the District of Columbia in order to serve Louisiana.”

It is unclear how the question of Landrieu’s residency might affect her standing with voters. In 2012, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, a Republican who had been in office for three decades, lost his reelection bid after reports that he stayed in hotels when he visited his district.

The Landrieu family has deep roots in the state. The senator’s brother, Mitch Landrieu, is the mayor of New Orleans.

Bernie Pinsonat, a Louisiana pollster, said the question of Mary Landrieu’s residency reminded him of a similar episode involving another Louisiana Democrat, former senator John B. Breaux. Breaux had prepared to run for governor in 2007 but then abandoned the effort after the state attorney general refused to declare him a Louisiana citizen under the state’s Constitution.

“I don’t need a poll to tell that it doesn’t sit well with voters when public officials vacate Louisiana and don’t really live here anymore,” said Pinsonat, who works for both Democrats and Republicans. “I don’t know what will happen, but I don’t think it’s a positive revelation for her.”

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