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Mary Landrieu Draws a Prominent Democrat Challenger

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The Hayride comes some dire news for embattled incumbent Mary Landrieu (D-LA), as she has drawn a challenger from the left who may siphon away some of her more reliable voters:

A bad month for Sen. Mary Landrieu just got a bit worse in the wake of qualifying for her reelection attempt last week. Down in the aggregate in polls entering the month, during it she began falling behind in the money chase, self-inflicted “Air Mary” took off as a campaign issue, and now with the official entries into the contest the hill to climb back to office got steeper still.

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Her biggest concern comes from the last-minute entry of the Rev. Raymond Brown, the gadfly leader of a New Orleans-based (Landrieu’s stronghold) organization called National Action Now, which once had a disputed relationship with the larger radical civil rights organization National Action Network. Brown has a history of inserting himself into incidents involving presumed racial conflict where the police are involved, most recently (and not for the first time) in New Iberia. In the past Brown has toyed with entering political contests, but committed to this one, at least for now.

Brown, who is black and running as a Democrat, given his notoriety may get one percent of the vote even with minimal campaigning. Add in the other Democrats running and maybe that’s a total of two percent. But the difficulty for Landrieu here is that the majority of those would have voted for her, the rest would not have, and that of the other minor candidates, few of their voters would have voted for Cassidy rather than Maness. In other words, their presence disproportionately harms her compared to Cassidy.

Simply put, Cassidy and Landrieu have different goals in November. All Cassidy needs to do is prevent Mary Landrieu from clearing 50% in November and he becomes the overwhelming favorite to win in the Dec. 6th runoff. So the presence of Maness and other right-leaning candidates in the race is not as troublesome to him; in fact, he might well welcome vigorous campaigns and voter turnout efforts from them as they will drive up the overall total voter pool which will make it harder for Landrieu to clear the 50% threshhold.

On the other hand, a prominent black behind the scenes political figure from New Orleans is the worst possible nightmare for Landrieu right now. Her chances of re-election may well depend on her ability to somehow convince Brown to withdraw from the race or publicly throw his support behind her; any failure to do that may well signify the final nail in “Air” Mary Landrieu’s campaign.

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