Sen. Landrieu boasts millions for 2014 race

WASHINGTON U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu jump-started her 2014 re-election bid Thursday by announcing that she raised more than $1 million in campaign funds during the last three months of 2012.

The surge in fundraising is expected to put Landrieu, D-La., at the head of the pack of the Louisiana congressional delegation in terms of cash on hand in her campaign war chest.

As of the end of the third quarter of 2012, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, had led the way with nearly $2 million on hand in his easy re-election bid that did not require him to spend much money.

Landrieu on Thursday touted having built up a $2.53 million war chest as of the end of December. At this point during her last re-election cycle, she had about $1 million.

Cassidy and U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, are among those openly flirting with challenging Landrieu when she is up for re-election in 2014.

The fourth-quarter filing deadline was Thursday but, as of Thursday night, the Federal Election Commission had not yet posted all of the reports for the Louisiana congressional delegation.

As of Nov. 26 though, Cassidy had a healthy $2.05 million in campaign cash and Fleming had nearly $460,000.

However, Fleming is the wealthiest member of the delegation and could partially self-finance a campaign.

Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, also may consider running for the U.S. Senate. He lost a congressional seat in December to U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, when the two were forced to run against each other because of redistricting.

Landry would virtually have to start from scratch after an expensive race. He reported less than $70,000 at the end of the year.

Landrieu released a prepared statement Thursday arguing that potential Republican opponents looking to unseat her “may find a more difficult path forward than expected as many prominent members of their own party have already thrown their support behind” her.

The news release specifically noted contributions from Boysie Bollinger, the chief executive officer of Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport; state Rep. Joe Harrison, R-Napoleonville; and Ted Falgout, the former executive director of Port Fourchon.

Landrieu touts herself as a “moderate” Democrat with support from many Republicans and independents.

The only other member of the Louisiana House delegation who reported more than $500,000 at the end of the year was U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, who also had an easy re-election victory. Scalise reported $600,000 in cash. He has not expressed any interest in running for the Senate.