WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jeff. Landry, R-New Iberia, raised nearly $300,000 in the second quarter of 2012.
But his opponent, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, more than doubled Landry’s fundraising from April through June.
Landry grew his cash-in-hand war chest to more than $975,000, according to Federal Election Commission figures released Monday, but Boustany is up to $1.91 million after touting his $740,000 second-quarter gain last week.
Landry is doing a “good job” and putting up solid fundraising figures, said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Boustany just posted an “enormous haul” for a three-month period.
“Boustany’s number is very robust for a congressional race,” Cross said. “Based on the numbers he’s putting up, Landry has to do a lot better.”
Boustany and Landry are running against each other because of the redistricting that occurred when Louisiana lost a congressional seat because of a lack of population growth.
The redrawn 3rd District encompasses southwestern Louisiana, including much of Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes. The political race with the Nov. 6 open primary election does not yet have any announced Democratic contenders.
Boustany, a 56-year-old former heart surgeon, has eight years in Congress, and is noted for his ties with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the party leadership. Boustany said he has “never wavered” in his re-election.
Such Republican leadership ties are likely paying off in fundraising, Cross said.
Landry, a 41-year-old politician, lawyer and businessman, rode the tea party wave in Louisiana in 2010 to defeat former Louisiana House Speaker Hunt Downer for the congressional seat.
Boustany declined further comment Monday after he touted his fundraising numbers last week and noted that most of his donations are from southern Louisiana.
Landry did not respond to three requests for comment Monday.
While Landry is very much still in the race, Cross said, the fundraising numbers are “pretty significant” and give Boustany more of an edge in a new district that is mostly made up of his existing constituents.
“Money always means something in politics and, in this case, although you don’t want to read too much into it, it seems Boustany is really outpacing Landry,” Cross said.
He said Landry may need to lean more on the fundraising networks of U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who has supported Landry in the past but not yet endorsed him in this race.
Landry is getting free additional publicity for himself by publicly denouncing things like UL-Lafayette’s political minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies. Such stances are popular with Landry’s conservative base, Cross said.
Cross said he expects television advertisements to really pick up near the beginning of September and dominate much of the Lafayette and Lake Charles area airwaves for two months or more if no one wins a majority of the vote on Nov. 6.
As for the more-competitive first quarter, Landry raised over $325,000 for the first three months of 2012, compared with more than $346,000 raised by Boustany.
Boustany had a fundraising head start because Landry largely depleted his funds during his successful 2010 race.
Among other congressmen, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, raised nearly $255,000 in the second quarter to boost his war chest to $1.85 million. He and Boustany have the strongest numbers of the delegation.
Cassidy, who has no official opposition for re-election yet, is widely considered a top potential challenger against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in 2014.
Landrieu had $1.2 million in cash in hand at the end of March, but the Federal Election Commission had not yet posted her updated numbers late Monday afternoon.