There are a couple different points to make here, and it’s a set of points that, when connected, paint an interesting picture in the upcoming Senate race here in the state.
Mary Landrieu’s grasp on the state is slipping, thanks in no small part to Barack Obama (a sincere thanks from me and my family, Mr. President), and the rise of now three Republican candidates (with potentially more) makes this an interesting cycle for the state. Luckily, the state GOP is providing lovely details on her new sources of income.
Today, an article published by Roll Call highlighted that Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC is once again pouring money into Louisiana to defend Mary Landrieu’s liberal record.
According to reports, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated $2.5 million to Reid’s Senate Majority PAC just 72 hours before the Majority PAC bought additional air time in Louisiana.
According to RealClearPolitics, Mary’s averaging about seven points ahead of Bill Cassidy, the Republican front runner, who was in turn about 24 points ahead of Rob Maness one of the polls. Maness is the conservative pick for RedState and others, while Cassidy is the establishment pick (I know you’re frothing at the mouth just by seeing Maness’ name, Kermit).
Mary, who has enjoyed money from big energy companies, including the one Maness used to work for, Entergy, is feeling the sting of the bad press from her statements that she’d “vote for [Obamacare] again” and the abysmal rollout of the law. Her campaign’s very first ad in the state featured her running against… Obama. She was telling her voters (the same voters she assured would get to keep their insurance) that she told the president he needs to keep his promise that they would get to keep their insurance.
The other point to be made from this comes from Timothy P. Carney at the Washington Examiner.
Conservative activist groups have always existed inside the GOP, but because they couldn’t raise and distribute large amounts of money, they functioned mostly through moral suasion – which means they were largely powerless. Eventually, these Beltway conservative groups grew dependent on the GOP, and instead of holding the party accountable, they often ended up being the establishment’s liaison to the conservative base.
Today’s conservative groups are fully armed, though. Thanks to advances in Internet fundraising and changes in campaign finance laws, the Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and the Club for Growth can raise and spend enough money to compete in GOP primaries with the Chamber of Commerce and lobbying firms.
Beyond these new pipelines of campaign cash, the insurgents now control institutions – institutions they created, and ones they took over. Jim DeMint, who founded the Senate Conservatives Fund in 2008, left Congress in 2013 to head the Heritage Foundation.
Money is going to play a bigger role here, especially in the Republican race, as the establishment and conservative bases fight it out. It won’t be as big a fight here as elsewhere, but it will still be indicative of the struggle Republicans face internally. The problem for Mary, however, is that this makes her forgotten. The Republican candidates will square off in the media at some point, and Mary will become an afterthought. It would be fine in a race that wasn’t as tight as it has and probably will become, but at a time when she needs to keep her head above water, she will struggle.
Her money, no matter the source, may not talk loud enough.