U.S. Senate candidates raise money for next year’s race

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu nearly doubled the fundraising totals of her chief re-election opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, during the third quarter of the year.

The Landrieu campaign will report Tuesday that she raised $1.35 million from July through September, compared with the nearly $700,000 announced Monday by Cassidy.

The new fundraising dollars give Landrieu, D-La., a $5.78 million war chest for the 2014 election, compared with $3.4 million for Cassidy. His cash on hand grew by $200,000 from $3.2 million the last quarter after expenses. Landrieu had a $4.86 million net total after June.

Both of the top candidates saw their fundraising levels shrink a little from the second quarter when Landrieu brought in $1.67 million compared with nearly $1.1 million for Cassidy.

In part because of the government shutdown, the fundraising numbers could not be verified online through the Federal Election Commission, which is operating with bare-bones staffing.

“I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve received since announcing my candidacy for U.S. Senate,” said Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, in a prepared statement. “Louisianans agree that we need checks and balances on President Obama and a more people-focused Washington.

“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.”

Landrieu cited her strengths in a prepared statement, while criticizing Republicans for the ongoing fights over the shutdown and the debt ceiling.

“Louisianians can either have effective and responsible leadership that focuses on Louisiana priorities and getting the job done to make flood insurance affordable, support small businesses and secure Louisiana’s fair share of offshore energy revenue to restore our coast,” Landrieu stated.

“Or they can have leadership by manufactured crises that wreak havoc on our economy and the American people. I’m proud to be part of the common ground coalition in the Senate to get work done on the important issues of the day.”

Landrieu’s 2008 opponent, state Treasurer John Kennedy, raised $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.

Landrieu also is easily exceeding her own fundraising pace from the 2008 election cycle.

While the 2014 Senate race between Landrieu and Cassidy is considered a toss-up by most pundits, there is a third announced candidate in the race. Political newcomer and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, of Madisonville, jumped into the race in May and reported raising more than $40,000 by the end of June.

Other potential candidates have flirted with entering the race, but have either opted out or are still considering their prospects.