In a stunning turn of events, Mary Landrieu is no longer fighting to win her senate seat. She’s fighting to lose it by the least humiliating margin possible.
It was only a few weeks ago that her November matchup with Republican Bill Cassidy was viewed as one of the tossup races in the nation, given her previous ability to survive tough races (she is a Democrat in Louisiana, after all).
On Election Day, Landrieu won…technically. She netted 42% of the vote, with Cassidy trailing by one point. Due to Louisiana’s law requiring a majority, a runoff was forced and it will all be over in just a few hours.
A runoff on a Saturday? Yes, it is a weird concept, but that’s not the only interesting aspect of this election.
Due to a football championship and hunting season, turnout is poised to be fairly low today, because there isn’t exactly a lot of urgency in voting because it is, at this point, impossible for Landrieu to win. Every poll has her down by double digits, and Cassidy has spent much of the week in Washington casting votes in the House.
Landrieu would have needed everything to go her way for her to stand a chance in this election, and unfortunately for her, absolutely nothing has gone her way in recent weeks.
Don Cravins, Sr., who was a state senator, and who is now Mayor of Opelousas (and also the father of Landrieu’s chief of staff), told voters that “If you early-voted, go vote again tomorrow. One more time’s not going to hurt (video here).”
What is this, Chicago?
Sure, Cravins was obviously kidding, right?
I could believe that he meant this as a joke, except for the fact that he then told the crowd not to worry, because “tomorrow we’re gonna elect Earl Taylor as the D.A. so he won’t prosecute you if you vote twice.”
Landrieu also has to attempt to convince voters that she is either one of Obama’s biggest opponents on the Hill…or one of his biggest supporters, depending on who she’s talking to.
Her attempt to pass Keystone before the runoff was a laughable failure. Despite her attempts to show her clout and independence, the Keystone vote fell short…by one vote (it was pretty obvious that it wasn’t going to pass when the last vote that was up in the air was Dick Durbin’s). Cassidy is also assured a seat on the powerful Energy Committee that Landrieu currently chairs, undercutting yet another rationale for her candidacy.
In another desperate attempt to curry favor with voters who are leaning to backing Cassidy, Landrieu warned voters that liberal Senator Maria Cantwell will become the ranking member on the Energy Committee if she loses…despite the fact that Cantwell is supporting Landrieu.
On the other hand, Landrieu is running ads that are lying about how Obama will be impeached if Cassidy is elected. Of all the news outlets to discover this, I would never have guessed that it would be Buzzfeed, but they found an ad running featuring Congressman Cedric Richmond saying that exact thing.
On an amusing level, Landrieu’s campaign has slammed Cassidy for disrespecting Obama…because Cassidy refers to Obama as “Obama.”
Landrieu’s campaign has also tried to claim that Cassidy “endorsed a documentary that claims that slavery was better for black folks than welfare,” despite the fact that there is no truth to that statement.
Finally, Landrieu certainly hasn’t been helped by Democrat-turned Republican Elbert Guillory’s ad campaign claiming that her tenure has been a disaster for blacks.
In my mind, Landrieu’s problems with voter fraud are both the most serious and ironic, given how her initial election in 1996 took place under concerning circumstances, to say the least, as Quin Hillyer wrote about extensively.
Landrieu is going to lose in a landslide tonight (not even Keystone would have mattered), but what really makes me laugh is that there’s already talk that she’ll run again in 2016. After a campaign like this, I don’t really see much of a reason to be that concerned.
(I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the [obvious] fact that Republicans will also win both of the House runoffs today; as amusing as a Congressman Edwin Edwards would be, it’s not going to happen)