Battle for crucial Senate seat heats up in Louisiana
April 3rd, 2013
11:41 AM ET
7 years ago

Battle for crucial Senate seat heats up in Louisiana

Washington (CNN) - Bill Cassidy's strategy is simple. The congressman from Louisiana, who Wednesday officially announced his Republican challenge to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, is tying her to President Barack Obama.

"It's going to be a tough race. I'm running against Sen. Mary Landrieu, who's been there for 18 years, and against the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama. President Obama wants Sen. Landrieu re-elected. She supports President Obama 97% of the time, has given him a blank for his wasteful spending," says the three term federal lawmaker, who represents Louisiana's sixth congressional district, in a campaign video announcing his bid for the Senate.

In his video, Cassidy goes on to say that "President Obama does not want me, a conservative Republican, representing the views of the people of Louisiana, to serve in the Senate."

Not a bad strategy in a state that's turning increasingly red. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney topped Obama 58%-41% in Louisiana in last November's election.

Cassidy's comments are being mirrored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of Senate Republicans.

"Over the last 15 years, Senator Landrieu has lost touch with Louisiana and transformed into a Washington Liberal, evidenced by her consistent support for President Obama's most controversial initiatives like ObamaCare and massive tax hikes, which is why voters will oppose her in 2014," said NRSC Communications Director Brad Dayspring, in a statement.

Landrieu, the three term senator who hails from a well known Louisiana political family, has a history of winning tough elections. And Louisiana Democrats think that Cassidy's voting history in the House could hurt him next year if he ends up being his party's Senate nominee.

"Bill Cassidy has spent his time in Congress fighting for extremists in Washington at the expense of the people of Louisiana. He is going to have a hard time convincing people in Louisiana that he has their best interests at heart when he repeatedly votes against hurricane protection and recovery funding and votes to give tax cuts to millionaires," said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Cassidy may not have the GOP field to himself. Republican Rep. John Fleming said in a statement after Cassidy's announcement that he "hasn't ruled anything out."

The Democrats currently hold 55 seats in the Senate (including two independents who caucus with the party) to the GOP's 45 seats. But at this point, they'll be defending 21 of the 35 Senate seats up for election in 2014. And the GOP feels they have a strong chance of winning back Landrieu's seat.

Prior to Cassidy's announcement, two of the top non-partisan political handicappers gave a slight edge to Landrieu, with the Cook Political Report rating the race "lean D" and the Rothenberg Political Report rating the contest "toss up/tilt D."

"Given Louisiana's increasingly Republican bent and Landrieu's history of close races, she'll have to hope that she can hang onto her Senate seat by her fingernails next year. She is certain to have a very tough race in 2014," Stu Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, tells CNN.

"Mary Landrieu's hold on this seat has always been considered tenuous. She has benefitted in past races from weak opponents or challengers who ran lackluster campaigns. Still, she has never gotten more than 52 percent of the vote," writes Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the Cook Report. "Landrieu hopes that her moderate voting record, her opposition to many of the Obama Administration's policies, and her attention to issues important to the state will carry her across the finish line and to a fourth term."

Filed under: Louisiana • Mary Landrieu
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    In La., we have 3 Drs. as Congressmen. What are they teaching @ Medical School ?

    April 3, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Sniffit

    True story: Obama has a better approval rating in LA than Booby Jingle does.

    April 3, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. MaryM

    Cassidy cant win and he knows it. Just like faux news said Mitt would win, its just a bunch of hot air

    April 3, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "He is going to have a hard time convincing people in Louisiana that he has their best interests at heart when he repeatedly votes against hurricane protection and recovery funding and votes to give tax cuts to millionaires,"
    Wow! He voted against hurricane protection. He clearly seems like a guy who puts party and ideology ahead of the people. This guy can learn a thing or two from Chris Christie.

    April 3, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Wilson

    On Tuesday, the Associated Press announced that it is banishing the phrase 'illegal immigrant' from its famous stylebook. ... AP explains that it wants to stop labeling people. Hah. This is the same organization that employs journalists who have repeatedly shown naked bias against tea party members, gun owners and pro-life activists. ... I propose that we banish the term 'journalist' when referring to members of mainstream news organizations who pose as neutral news-gathers while carrying out a blatantly ideological agenda.

    April 3, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. RF

    Nothing about how he would do the job better, just more name calling and no substance. the GOP is a joke!

    April 3, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Wilson

    Most of the social liberalism comes with quite a price tag. The most reliable constituency for Big Government is single women, for whom the state is a girl's best friend, the sugar daddy whose checks never bounce. A society in which a majority of births are out of wedlock cannot be other than a Big Government welfare society. Ruining a nation's finances is one thing; debauching its human capital is far harder to fix.

    April 3, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. hornetbut

    mary will change her tune on gay marriage as soon as the election is over just like tester and mccaskil did...that might be ok in the big easy ...but not north part of the state...

    April 3, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Hey Steinhauser, can we get a story on Gov. Bob McDonnell and the $15,000 worth of fine dining courtesy of Jonnie R. Williams Sr. for his daughter's wedding?

    April 3, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    Will Republicans subvert the democratic process by suppressing Black and Hispanic votes with dirty election tactics?

    April 3, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. PaulCat

    I think It's a good thing that she works with the president, as it should be. You should try it. But one thing for sure, she has ALWAYS put the people of Louisiana FIRST.

    April 3, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. Wilson

    In a groundbreaking move, the Associated Press, the largest news gathering outlet in the world, will no longer use the term 'illegal immigrant.' That is out. No longer 'illegal immigrant.' They will now use the phrase 'undocumented Democrat

    April 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Democrats need to practice more proactive campaigning instead of reactive campaigning. In other words, lead the conversation instead of letting your opponent do it for you.

    April 3, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    "And the GOP feels they have a strong chance of winning back Landrieu's seat..."

    I doubt it.

    April 3, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. nothing new here

    The Landrieu family is very powerful in the state of Louisiana.
    Even brother Mitch, who is currently mayor of New Orleans, carries a lot of influence.
    Landrieu is going to be harder to challenge than what a lot of Republicans think. Just because she is currently a Democrat, is not a major flaw in of itself, considering this lady has helped send a lot of $$$$ to Louisiana.

    April 3, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Donna

    Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu does NOT represent her states interest one bit. She is part of the far left Democrat Party that jams their far left agenda down our throats. So Louisiana, the decision is yours. If you want massive gun control laws, if you want more Obamacare type legislation, if you want more trampling of your religious rights, if you want more and more government in your lives and wallet, then vote for this far left loon and her party. If not, then vote Republican. It really is that simple.

    April 3, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. truth hurts but reality bites

    Don't believe a word that comes out of Landrieu's mouth people of Louisiana. She marches to the beat of the far left Democrat Party and Obama. She will LIE through her teeth to stay in office, only to stick it to you later with her votes for the far left agenda of the Democrat Party.

    April 3, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. wwf

    I always get a kick out of how people blame the President for "wasteful spending" Guess they need to take a class on how things work. CONGRESS HAS TO GIVE ITS APPROVAL FOR THE SPENDING!!!!!!!!!!. Sorry for the caps, but if one idiot sees it and wakes the hell up, it will have been worth it.

    April 3, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "Will Republicans subvert the democratic process by suppressing Black and Hispanic votes with dirty election tactics?"

    Yes. They are already hard at work on it in places like VA and other states that have GOP/Teatroll state legislatures that are freaking out over Obama yet again winning their state. Heck, the RNC and other GOP/Teatroll organizations have sent out memos going so far as gloating over the fact that their gerrymandering helped them keep control over the House despite getting 1.3M less votes for their House candidates...and suggesting strategies like further redistricting coupled with trying to make only certain states (i.e., the ones where it would count in their favor) actually split their electoral votes next time around. We'll be seeing plenty of more restrictive voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting, restrictions on voter registration drives, magically messed up polling stations with huge delays (especially in urban centers where you know who lives), redistricting/gerrymandering, demagoguery about the debunked myth of widespread voter fraud, purposefully confusing ballots and other suppression efforts as we get closer to the 2014 elections and move on to 2016. I forget which state, but one of the Teatroll statelegislators is even trying to make it so people can't easily vote a straight ticket...that way they might not vote in certain races or might make mistakes on their ballots. Our whole system of election processes and rules are under attack by the GOP/Teatrolls because their demographic armageddon is coming a-callin....and the MSM doesn't want to acknowledge it or discuss it honestly because the MSM is best served by helping the GOP/Teatrolsl survive to provide the two parties needed for the controversies they sensationalize. Bottom line: The GOP/Teatrolls can no longer really win overall by the rules anymore...and so, democracy having become inconvenient for them, they're willing to toss it out with the bathwater.

    April 3, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. plain&simple

    @ you support gay marriage? You concern over single women having children out of wedlock is astonishing! Maybe the fathers of those children should step up and show some responsibility??? That might save you some precious money.. so long as big government doesn't have to track them downand make them do the right thing. I ssuggest you climb down from your mountain top and join the real world.

    April 3, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Abbey

    The Obama deficit is real for those voters who want change and now. Bye-bye tax and spend Democrats.

    April 3, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. Peoples State of Illinois

    The amazing thing is how the sheeple (aka Low-Information Voters) don't connect him with his policies. For example, if Obamacare is so unpopular, how di dhe get re-elected? Not to beat a dead horse about the pathetic campiagn, but had Romney simply ended every speech and every ad with "Remember, I'm the last stand against Obamacare" I think he would have won.

    I thought at the time Clinton was teflon, but Obama puts him to shame. I NEVER thought I would yearn for the "good ole' days" when Clinton was POTUS. Everything is relative.

    April 3, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Anthony in California

    "He is going to have a hard time convincing people in Louisiana that he has their best interests at heart when he repeatedly votes against hurricane protection and recovery funding and votes to give tax cuts to millionaires,"

    Done. And done.

    April 3, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Peoples State of Illinois

    The amazing thing is how the sheeple (aka Low-Information Voters) don't connect him with his policies
    I agree. Haven't you noticed that the vast majority who do not connect are conservatives? On the flip side, it's not amazing that the majority of college educate people connect and support his policies.

    April 3, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |