Opinion: Much moola in Senate race

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U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) (center) and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson (left) were in north Louisiana Friday to discuss just how this area is helping build Louisiana’s cyber security work force and its plans to create high-paying tech jobs along the I-20 corridor. Landrieu and Johnson both praised Bossier Parish for its role along the ‘cyber corridor’ as a valued part of the nation’s cyber defense movement.

It comes as no surprise that the Louisiana U.S. Senate race will likely be the most expensive in the state’s storied political history.

The spending by individual candidates from their campaign funds is one thing, but when the outside money is added in from special interest groups and Super PACs, the final figures will be colossal.

And with a runoff likely after all other U.S. Senate races are concluded, the money stream into the state will be something to behold.

For now, let’s look at how much money has been raised and spent by the three main competitors in the race, which could decide the party that has control of  the U.S. Senate for at least the next two years.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu leads the money wars, followed by Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and Republican Rob Maness.

lou BurnettThe figures cover federal campaign finance reports through September 30, 2014.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu

Landrieu has raised $14.988 million for this election cycle and has spent $12.438 million.  At the close of the reporting period, she had $3.492 million cash on hand.

U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy

Cassidy has raised $7.588 million for this election cycle and has spent $6.023 million.  At the close of the reporting period, he had $4.428 million cash on hand.

Rob Maness

Maness has raised $2.291 million for the U.S. Senate race and has spent $1.947 million.  At the close of the reporting period, he had $387,839 cash on hand.

Note: The figures for the election cycle will not compute for Landrieu and Cassidy because they had cash on hand at the beginning of the cycle.

Media’s with Mary! So far…

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu received the endorsement of four Louisiana newspapers over the past week.

She received a front-page endorsement from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, as well as Gambit, a respected New Orleans publication.

In the conservative bastion of Lafayette, she captured the endorsement of Acadiana’s largest newspaper, the Daily Advertiser.

And Landrieu received a front-page endorsement  from the Louisiana Weekly, southeast Louisiana’s largest and most influential African-American newspaper.

All political camps are anxiously awaiting the endorsements of the state’s other large newspapers, the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, the Shreveport Times, the Monroe New-Star, and the Alexandria Daily Town Talk – if one or more decide to endorse.

One should never doubt the clout of the press.  In 1988, newspaper endorsements catapulted Buddy Roemer from last place into the governor’s office.

The poll does not toll

There is sort of an unwritten rule in politics. If you are going to do a poll, make sure it is a viable one by a non-partisan, respected polling firm.  And you had better be ready to fork over at least $10,000 for a sizable sampling.

That brings us to the recent mayoral poll released jointly by The Times and KTBS-TV.  The results:

Ollie Tyler (D) – 33%.

Victoria Provenza (NP) – 23%.

Patrick Williams (D) – 13%.

Sam Jenkins (D) – 4%.

No results were listed for Anna Marie Arpino  (OP), Melvin Slack (D), and Jim Crowley (NP).

But the poll has many local politicos scratching their heads.  The poll was conducted by Prism Surveys and was an automated home telephone survey of 515 random but likely Shreveport voters.

Apparently, the survey used only land lines, which most pollsters do not, recognizing that there are many voters who only have cell phones or get their information over the Internet.

Those who responded to the telephone survey were identified as 55% Democrat and 34% Republican and 11% No Party.  Actual voter registration statistics are 53% Democrat, 24% Republican, and 23% Other Party/No Party.

By race, 53% of respondents identified themselves as white and 40% as African-American.  Actual voter registration stats are 43% white, 53% black, and 4% other races.

It was also revealed that 71% of the respondents were age 55 and over.  Granted, they are the most prolific voting group, but the sampling does not include a lot of younger voters.  And 23% of the respondents are still undecided.

Therefore, questions are being raised about whether this was a creditable scientific poll.  An internal poll, revealed to the Fax-Net recently, had Tyler at 38%, Provenza at 14%, and Williams at 13%.

If the Prism poll is accurate – and it could be a snapshot of voter sentiment – it indicates that Provenza seems to have momentum moving into the final week  of the campaign.

It also shows that Tyler remains strong, while the Williams campaign seems stagnant.

There is one thing a lot of local politicos agree on.  They believe the race is headed for a runoff between Tyler and Provenza, which could be a very interesting race between the two female candidates.

Where are Ollie and Patrick?

Needless to say, there have been a lot of mayoral forums over the past several weeks.  But organizations and associations want to get face-to-face with the seven candidates and hear what they plan to do as mayor.

But Ollie Tyler and Patrick Williams have been absent at more forums than the other candidates.  Both were no-shows at a West Shreveport mayoral forum last week.

It was sponsored by the West Shreveport Alliance and Build a Better Shreveport. Their absence did not sit well with some attendees, who apparently felt that Tyler and Williams did not care enough about their part of the city to listen to their concerns.

Williams was a no-show for a recent forum sponsored by the Young Professionals of Shreveport and instead showed up unexpected at a meeting of the Professional Republican Women of Caddo.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.