ERROL LABORDEWhoever wins the special election for the First Congressional District seat will take over a position that among all other Louisiana Congressional Districts has been the career maker. Consider the last two holders of the position: Bobby Jindal was elected governor from the seat. Jindal replaced David Vitter who ran successfully for the U.S. Senate from the First Congressional District perch. Dave Treen also held the position when he was elected to the mansion.
So what is it about the district that has made it so potent? There are two reasons:
One is location. The district, which includes the East Bank of Jefferson Parish, most of the Northshore and a swath of New Orleans, is right at the nexus of the state's largest media market and encompasses three of the state's most economically important parishes. Whoever holds the job is going to be high profile.
And the other reason is that the district is so solidly Republican. Since the state tends to most often go with the GOP in statewide elections, the First has been a good spot to develop and display new talent.
As fertile as the seat has been, the voters of the district will be well served if their next Congressman stays there for a while. Since 1998, there have been three different congressmen representing the district; soon there will be a fourth. That's a lot of turnover over a short time. Ambition is always part of the political life but in every successful political career there comes a time to hunker down and serve.
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