Democrats Already Abandoning Mary Landrieu?
The party's loss of Senate control has basically sealed Landrieu's fate.
As we headed into Election Day, there were plenty of reasons to believe that the expected Runoff Election between Senator Mary Landrieu and Congressman Tom Cassidy would be crucial to the battle for Senate control. Right up to the last minute, after all, there seemed to be enough close seats around the nation to suggest that we would wake up on November 5th with the GOP not having won enough seats to actually grab control of the upper chamber of Congress. Had that happened, then the expected December 6th election in Louisiana could have ended up being the most important election of the entire 2014 cycle. As it turns out, though, it is going to be something of an afterthought. At the moment, with Alaska still officially undecided, the GOP has a 53 seat majority in the new Senate. With Alaska looking like a win for Republican Dan Sullivan at the end of the day, that will make the majority 54 seats, with 46 seats in the Democratic caucus. That means that, in the end, Louisiana will basically just be a question of whether the Republican majority stays at 54-46 or grows to 55-45. Given polling before Tuesday that showed Congressman Cassidy well ahead of Senator Landrieu in head-to-head matchups, it would appear that the most likely outcome would be for the GOP to add to its majority next month, and it seems Democratic Party officials may already be throwing in the towel:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has canceled its advertising reservations for Sen. Mary Landrieu ahead of the December runoff in Louisiana.
The committee canceled all broadcast buys planned from Monday through Dec. 6 in the state’s five major media markets, three sources tracking the air war told POLITICO. That’s about $1.6 million worth of time. The DSCC is in the process of canceling an additional $275,000 in cable placements, according to buyer sources.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, by contrast, has reserved $2.3 million of broadcast ad time over the next month.
With control of the Senate no longer on the line, the race becomes less important for both party committees — each of which took out loans in the final weeks before Tuesday’s election.
“Mary Landrieu is a proven runoff winner, and we support her 100 percent,” said DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky. “We are going to make ongoing determinations on how best to invest in the race. We made the initial reservation when there were concerns that the rates would skyrocket, but they have stabilized, giving us more flexibility to make week-to-week decisions.”
Landrieu underperformed public polls on Tuesday and finished with 42 percent, just 16,000 more votes and 1 percentage point more than her Republican opponent Bill Cassidy. Her showing came even with tea party candidate Rob Maness receiving 14 percent.
Republicans still have $7.2 million in broadcast reservations for the next four weeks in the Bayou State. Cassidy has reserved $1.3 million; Ending Spending and its Super PAC, $1.6 million; the National Rifle Association, $1.1 million; and Freedom Partners, $822,000.
The only Democratic outside group with broadcast reservations for the runoff right now is the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which reserved just $101,000 for the final two weeks of the runoff.
One of Landrieu’s biggest selling points to Louisiana voters has been her seniority and, most especially, the fact that she is on both the Appropriations Committee and the Chairperson of the powerful Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, a committee of particular interest to the state’s oil and natural gas industry and the thousands of people in the state who are employed by it. With the GOP coming into control of the Senate, though, those selling points aren’t going to mean nearly as much as they have while Democrats were in charge. Indeed, many observers suggested that Harry Reid made Landrieu the Chair of the Energy Committee to help her in the re-election bid. Going forward, though, she will at the very least not be the Chairperson of that committee any longer; that job will likely go to current Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—and she may not even end up on the committee after the reshuffling that will have to happen with Senate reorganization in January. At this point, Cassidy has a better argument to voters by saying he would have greater influence as a freshman member of the majority party than Landrieu would as someone with seniority in the minority caucus. Anything can happen in this race, of course, but at this point I suspect that the Democrat’s loss of Senate control has basically sealed Landrieu’s fate.