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Mary Landrieu's election fate could swing U.S. Senate

Written by  // Friday, 24 January 2014 14:29 //

landrieu-tea-partyIn the upcoming U.S. Senate campaign, Democrat incumbent Mary Landrieu is facing the most difficult campaign of her career.

This November, Landrieu will have to face an electorate concerned about a weak economy and upset about the Affordable Care Act.

 

In 2010, Landrieu cast a key vote allowing the healthcare legislation to pass without any Republican support. Louisiana voters have not forgotten about that Senate vote and with a disastrous launch of the Obamacare website, it is not likely they will forget anytime soon.

The website is so flawed that a leading Internet security expert claimed this week that the personal information of enrollees is easily accessible to hackers.  Overall, the Obamacare enrollment figures have been unimpressive, especially with younger Americans who are crucial for the success of the program.

In a new Fox New poll, opposition to Obamacare continues to grow with 59% of Americans expressing dissatisfaction with the legislation. In Louisiana, opposition is even more intense, which is why groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, are running commercials blasting Senator Landrieu for her support of the bill.

Along with her controversial backing of Obamacare, Senator Landrieu has taken positions on issues such as immigration, gun control, abortion and taxation that place her in opposition to the majority of voters in the state.

While she has been very supportive of the oil and gas industry, most of her votes have been in line with the position of President Obama. In fact, she has voted with the Obama administration an astounding 97% of the time.

If there is anything more unpopular in Louisiana than Obamacare, it is President Obama and Mary Landrieu is closely associated with both the President and his signature healthcare legislation.

It is no wonder that University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato is now calling Mary Landrieu’s re-election a “toss up.”

Unlike her last election in 2008, Landrieu will face the voters in a mid-term cycle, in which voter turnout is lower and leans more Republican.

Overall, the State of Louisiana has been trending toward the Republican Party for years. In the most recent analysis on voter identification in Louisiana, Democratic Party registration dropped to only 46 percent, a new low.  

Historically, Louisiana was a very Democratic state; however, today, Senator Landrieu is the only Democrat in statewide office.

All of these factors make Senator Landrieu very vulnerable this fall.

While Congressman Bill Cassidy is the leading Republican to challenge the incumbent, there are now two other options: 32 year military veteran Rob Maness and State Representative Paul Hollis (R-Mandeville). This week, former Louisiana legislator Tony Perkins, who is President of the Family Research Council, announced his disappointment with Cassidy and hinted that he may enter the race.

The Senate election will be an open primary with all candidates on the same ballot. If the leading candidate does not reach 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off with an even smaller turnout of voters. If Senator Landrieu is forced into run-off, her chances of victory will be severely diminished.

It will be a very interesting campaign with a tough veteran facing a trio of opponents hitting her hard on Obamacare and other issues. Both parties will be pouring money into the state as they realize the stakes involved. This seat could very well determine the control of the U.S. Senate for the final two years of President Obama’s term. 

Jeff Crouere

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at Ringside Politics.

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