Landrieu retains fundraising lead

Sen. Mary Landrieu continued to outpace her opponents in fundraising for her re-election campaign in the fourth quarter of last year, but her top opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, made gains in bridging the gap between their overall war chests for the 2014 election.

Landrieu, D-La., reported raising nearly $1.4 million in the final three months of 2013 compared with more than $1 million taken in by Cassidy.

Landrieu spent more money during the same time period, so Cassidy actually grew his overall cash on hand by a larger margin.

Landrieu spent money on commercials last month, touting her efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act, her support of which is a top target of the GOP.

Landrieu’s campaign war chest was $6.37 million at the end of the year, which is up from $5.78 million at the end of September.

Cassidy has $4.2 million, which is an increase from $3.4 million three months ago.

Also challenging Landrieu’s re-election bid are state Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville; retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a Republican from Madisonville; and Libertarian Brannon McMorris, of Denham Springs. They have not announced any new fundraising tallies yet. The Federal Election Commission has not yet posted any of the updated financial totals.

Landrieu has raised about $2.25 million more than she did at this point during the 2008 election cycle. But Cassidy is far outpacing her opponent from six years ago, state Treasurer John Kennedy.

Cassidy’s fourth-quarter fundraising numbers are not far from the pace at which Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was raising money four years ago. In the final quarter of 2009, the incumbent Vitter raised approximately $1.2 million and reported banking $4.5 million.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Kennedy raised $500,000 and had $460,000 on hand. Kennedy raised $4.8 million during the entire race.

“As I travel Louisiana, I talk to so many people who share my optimism that we can right the ship and get things working again,” Cassidy said in a prepared statement.

“I am humbled and encouraged by the donations of my fellow Louisianans as we work together to bring Louisiana values to Washington. As your next U.S. senator, I will work to reduce the size of government so Louisianans can keep more of their hard-earned tax dollars.”

Landrieu also touted her gains.

“I am grateful for the generous financial support that our campaign has received from every part of Louisiana and across the country,” Landrieu said in a prepared statement. “Our campaign’s message of common-sense, solutions-based leadership that produces real results for people will resonate with voters who deserve nothing less.

“In the coming weeks and months, there are serious challenges we must address: making flood insurance affordable, fixing and improving the Affordable Care Act so hard-working, middle-class families can access quality and affordable health care that they can never lose, continued to push for Louisiana’s fair share of energy revenue to restore our coast and fueling our economy through robust domestic energy production,” she added.

Outside groups also are spending a lot of money in the race.

The Republican National Committee and the Americans for Prosperity group co-founded by the billionaire, activist Koch brothers are running commercials attacking Landrieu on Obamacare.

Likewise, the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic political action committee, has targeted Cassidy in attack ads and blamed him for last year’s temporary government shutdown and for backing cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare.