Cassidy edges closer to Landrieu in campaign cash
U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu continues to pull in more campaign money than her chief Republican competitor, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, but she's spending more as well, sending her into the most heated portion of the Senate race with a narrowing advantage of cash on hand.
Landrieu's campaign announced Tuesday that the Democratic senator, seeking her fourth term, raised $2.1 million in the most recent fundraising quarter, from April 1 through June 30. Cassidy's campaign said it raised $1.6 million for the same period.
The contenders for the Nov. 4 election have similar amounts of cash in the bank: Landrieu reports $6.2 million, while Cassidy reports $5.8 million.
The long-shot candidate for the Senate seat, Republican and tea party favorite Rob Maness, reported raising $578,000 and having $314,000 left in his campaign account after expenses.
Landrieu's campaign said the latest fundraising period was the senator's best of the current election cycle.
"We're seeing tremendous grassroots support, with the vast majority of our donations coming from individuals donating low dollar amounts. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 individual contributions came at the $250 level or below," Fabien Levy, the campaign's communications director, said in a statement.
Cassidy's campaign said the congressman has raised more money to date than any candidate who has challenged Landrieu in prior elections.
"The financial support our campaign received has been overwhelming. I'm excited to go into the fall with more than $5.8 million cash on hand — putting our campaign in an incredibly strong position," Cassidy said in a statement.
However, the advertising battle won't rely solely on the candidates' campaign accounts.
Millions of dollars in outside money has poured into Louisiana, so far spent mostly on attack ads against Landrieu. But much more money is expected to flow into the state to pay for radio, Internet and TV ads both for and against the candidates before the November election.
Landrieu has raised $13.5 million for the election cycle, while Cassidy has brought in $8 million for the race, according to their campaign finance reports. Landrieu's campaign has noted that her Republican challenger is taking in donations that can only be spent if the race goes to a Dec. 6 runoff, which boosts Cassidy's fundraising total.
Donors have given $1.3 million to Maness since he entered the race, according to his fundraising report.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in November, the race goes into a runoff, and Maness' presence in the race makes that more likely to happen.
To try to close the fundraising gap, Maness is hoping high-profile endorsements from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Tea Party Express will attract new donations. He's also been traveling the state in his pickup truck, making stops in every parish and taking nearly every speaking invitation he can get.
Full reports listing expenses and collections from all U.S. Senate and congressional race candidates were due Tuesday to the Federal Election Commission.