U.S. Senate candidates fundraising outpace previous races

Advocate File Photos -- U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, left, and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., are seen in a May 2013 photo (Cassidy) and a November 2012 photo (Landrieu). Show caption
Advocate File Photos -- U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, left, and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., are seen in a May 2013 photo (Cassidy) and a November 2012 photo (Landrieu).

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu increased her fundraising lead over her 2014 reelection opponent, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy with both of them raising more than $1 million each during the second quarter of the year.

Landrieu, D-La., announced on Tuesday that her campaign raised $1.67 million from April through June to give her a war chest of $4.86 million.

Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, took in nearly $1.1 million during the same time period to push his cash on hand to $3.2 million.

Both candidates’ hauls represent sizable improvements from their first quarter fundraising totals and show them outpacing the amounts raised in past U.S. Senate elections in Louisiana. The two candidates are announcing their campaign numbers in advance of the totals being released by the Federal Election Commission later this month.

“I’m grateful to have a strong and broad group of supporters that believe in growing and expanding the middle class in Louisiana and throughout the country,” Landrieu said in her announcement. “I’m proud to lead the efforts in Congress to secure funds for coastal restoration, fix flood insurance ‘reform’ and to support small business startups and entrepreneurs that strengthen our economy.”

Landrieu had taken in less than $3 million total at this point in her last reelection cycle, so she has easily surpassed that total now that she is closing in on the $5 million mark.

For Cassidy though, he is raising money at the same pace as U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., did in his last election cycle as an incumbent candidate.

Landrieu’s 2008 opponent, state Treasurer John Kennedy, raised a total of $4.8 million for the entire election cycle and never had more than $2.7 million in cash on hand. Cassidy is well ahead of Kennedy’s fundraising rate.

“I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve received since announcing my candidacy for U.S. Senate,” Cassidy stated. “Louisianans agree that we need to make Washington more accountable and more people-focused. They’re tired of overbearing government programs in their daily lives and the paralysis of inept federal bureaucracies stifling job opportunity and small business success.”

Apart from typical fundraising, Landrieu also has focused on the “micro” level by reaching out via email for donations of as little as $3. That is a grassroots approach that was popularized on the largest scale by President Barack Obama and others.

Landrieu is running to this point with the message that she is a moderate Democrat who puts Louisiana first over national politics.

Cassidy and GOP backers contend that Landrieu is too liberal for Louisiana and backs Obama nearly all the time.

The only other candidate announced in the race is political newcomer and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, of the New Orleans area, who is attempting to run to the political right of Cassidy and acquire more conservative support. Fundraising numbers from Maness have not yet been released.

Landrieu also announced that she has a new campaign manager. Adam Sullivan ran campaigns in New York, for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and former U.S. Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y. Consultant Jay Howser ran her 2008 campaign.

Landrieu’s finance director, Tina Stoll, will return again to lead Sen. Landrieu’s fundraising efforts, along with Louisiana Finance Director Kate Magsamen and Alicia Pardo. Mark Mellman returns as Landrieu’s pollster, and Mark Putnam will handle her media. Louisiana native Greg Rigamore will once again serve as the campaign’s demographer.

Cassidy’s campaign manager is Joel DiGrado, who came over from serving as Vitter’s communications director.