Abandon ship: No outside groups donating to Landrieu runoff yet

Granted, it’s still early, but speed is of the essence in the short time of a special election. Capitol City finds a notable lack of urgency on the part of Democratic outside groups to get involved in Louisiana:


Six days ago, it was reported the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee wouldn’t be lending any more support to Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) leading up to her December 6 runoff election against Republican opponent Bill Cassidy, as the DSCC has canceled its advertising reservations in the state. However, it appears that her problems extend well beyond them, as even more outside groups have appeared to jump ship — at least for the time being.

FEC filings from the past week show that the sitting senator hasn’t received one independent donation from any outside group either in support of her re-election or opposing Cassidy. In fact, every independent committee or PAC donation went in support of her Republican challenger or into opposing her in the runoff election. …

Filings from this past week show that eight independent expenditures were pumped into the Bayou State totaling over $1 million, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Americans For Prosperity, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, and the Women Speak Out PAC made up a majority of the donations — totaling $971,997 against Landrieu. The other groups — the National Campaign, the Black Conservatives Fund, Star Parker PAC, and Conservative Strikeforce — poured an additional $35,490 into the race this past week.


Ironically, it’s not Bill Cassidy that needs a cash infusion at this point. Joe Schoffstall points readers to this Politico story from last week, explaining that the GOP planned ahead for the runoff:

Republicans still have $7.2 million in broadcast reservations for the next four weeks in the Bayou State. Cassidy has reserved $1.3 million; Ending Spending and its Super PAC, $1.6 million; the National Rifle Association, $1.1 million; and Freedom Partners, $822,000.

The only Democratic outside group with broadcast reservations for the runoff right now is the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which reserved just $101,000 for the final two weeks of the runoff.

Suddenly, the DSCC’s decision to cut bait in the Gulf doesn’t look so odd. The outside groups that might normally have jumped into the runoff may have the same problem that the DSCC seemingly does — a lack of funds. These groups went all in on the general election and lost big. Their donors may not be terribly excited to reach into their pockets again to a losing cause any more than the DSCC’s donors do. That’s not just because Landrieu is likely to lose in the December 6th runoff, but also because Democrats lost the big prize of the Senate majority. Convincing donors that there’s value in coughing up four or five figures for limiting the Republican majority to 53 seats rather than 54 will take Jonathan Gruber-level spin.


Still, this leaves the question about the DSCC’s planning. This runoff was a flat-out certainty for months, which is why the GOP and its allies planned for big spending in Louisiana past Election Day. They put money aside even while aggressively spending against Democratic incumbents — like Landrieu herself, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, and Jeanne Shaheen and Mark Warner in narrow losses. Democratic fundraising kept pace with their Republican counterparts this cycle, which supposedly was a sign of good management in the run-up to the election. Yet no one in Democratic circles prepared for the four-week campaign to save Landrieu from Barack Obama and herself.

Landrieu may still get some assistance from outside groups, and is undoubtedly raising her own funds to keep her ad buys. It won’t look like this all the way through the December 6th runoff date … will it?



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David Strom 4:30 PM | May 28, 2024