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Wednesday, 13 August 2014 20:37

Chehardy: Mary Landrieu will be tough to defeat

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chehardyThe official start of the 2014 campaign season will soon be upon us.  Qualifying for the U.S. Senate seat and other offices opens up next week and candidates will have to officially declare their candidacies.  Louisiana voters will have the chance to decide whether Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA) who is running against Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is an uncaring, wealthy doctor as depicted in pro-Landrieu television commercials or whether Senator Landrieu is out of step with Louisiana voters and a tool of President Obama as depicted in pro-Cassidy ads.  One thing is for sure the candidates are seldom as bad as their opponent’s depiction portrays them.  Voters will have the chance to decide on November 4th.


 The Louisiana Senate race is a big one.  Control of the U.S. Senate is at stake.  Republicans are putting a lot of hope on Congressman Cassidy while democrats will do all they can to hold on to the seat held by Senator Landrieu.  It is not likely that the republicans will gain control of the Senate without Louisiana’s seat.

Republicans are making a big mistake if they think that Senator Landrieu is a likely loser in her re-election bid.  To the contrary Senator Landrieu can win this race even though it is most likely her toughest challenge yet.  She has made many friends rights here in Louisiana during her tenure in the Senate, and many of those friendships are personal ones making it very hard for those folks to vote against her.

Congressman Cassidy, on the other hand, is running a rather passive campaign.  To date his strategy seems to be to run against Obama Care.  But his campaign lacks enthusiasm.  So far he has not instilled excitement among voters.  Maybe this will change before Election Day.  If it does not Congressman Cassidy’s campaign will be in big trouble.

The third candidate is Rob Maness who is supported by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and a Tea Party favorite.  Mr. Maness has a lot of ground to make up if he wants a chance to win.  His problem is that his campaign seems stuck in neutral.  With a few television ads he might change that, but first his campaign has to be taken seriously by voters; and so far they are not paying attention.

So what will the Senate race turn on?  Most likely the debates will turn the tide.  Whichever candidate performs best will likely win.  The goal in those debates is to win over the 5% to 10% of voters who will make up their minds on voting at the very end of the campaign.  Senator Landrieu and Congressman Cassidy will enter the final days of the campaign nearly even in the polls.  Mr. Maness will take some votes away from Congressman Cassidy, but Cassidy and Landrieu will be tight regardless.  A debate stumble could prove costly to the fumbling candidate, and the pressure to perform well could fall most heavily on Congressman Cassidy as a new face on the statewide stage, as a challenger to Senator Landrieu, and as the better alternative to Senator Landrieu than Rob Maness.

So the outcome of the race for Louisiana’s Senate seat will trudge on for another two and a half months.  The people of Louisiana will have to make a choice and that outcome is yet to be determined.  But a warning to Republicans, despite President Obama’s unpopularity in Louisiana and voter mistrust of Obama Care, Mary Landrieu will be tough to defeat; and, if you want to say she will be re-elected, I am not going to debate that with you, at least not yet. 


Lawrence Chehardy

For thirty-four years Lawrence Chehardy served as Assessor of Jefferson Parish. He has been the leading authority on Louisiana’s property tax laws. In addition to his political commentary and public speaking engagements, Lawrence Chehardy is a founding member of the Chehardy, Sherman, Ellis, Murray, Recile, Griffith, Stakelum & Hayes Law Firm and serves as its managing partner.

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