April 15, 2014

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu knows how to win tough reelections. As a Democrat in a Red State, she is one of the most targeted and endangered senators every time she’s up for reelection. In 2002, she won with just 51.7% of the vote and in 2008 she got 52.1%. So, it’s not that surprising that she’s out today with an ad that strikes at President Obama, her party’s leader who also happens to be incredibly unpopular in Louisiana.

The high-production quality spot shows Landrieu in a series of television appearances running on TV sets in homes and bars in local Louisiana locales. In the appearances, she’s slamming Obama for his oil and gas policies. Landrieu has long pushed Obama to expand offshore oil and gas drilling—a plan he supported before the BP oil spill but has since been slow to implement. “The administration’s policies are simply wrong when it comes to oil and gas politics in this nation,” Landrieu says in the ad.

Then, at the end of the spot, Landrieu pivots to promote her own power in Washington. “Now as the new chairman of the Energy Committee,” the narrator says, “she holds the most powerful position in the Senate for Louisiana.” In other words: Washington is dysfunctional, but Landrieu is the one sane—and powerful—person in it and she’s fighting for you guys. “It’s a really nice ad that plays to Landrieu’s greatest strength right now: her chairmanship and her advocacy of the state’s oil and gas Industry,” says Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races at the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Conservatives are slamming the spot as fake. According to the Weekly Standard, Landrieu reenacted a scene from an Energy Committee hearing where she is seen saying: “They have to sit here and listen to the federal government say, ‘We can’t share a penny with you’? I will not rest until this injustice is fixed,” Landrieu says. “Do you think there are a bunch of fairy godmothers out there who just wave a magic wand?”

She did actually say essentially the same thing—in a much more rambling way without “fairy godmothers”— in a real hearing, so it’s not as dishonest as some other ads running the Landrieu race. Start watching here at about 2 hours and 27 minutes to see the differences.

In the first quarter of 2014, Landrieu outraised her top GOP opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy, $1.8 million to $1.2 million, and had about $2.5 million more in the bank at the end of March. But she trails Cassidy in polls by 2.4%, according to an average of Louisiana polls by Real Clear Politics.

And at any rate, football and hunting may end up being Landrieu’s saving graces. If no candidate garners 50% in the Bayou State’s voting system, the top two vote earners will advance to a Dec. 6 run off, which is likely. Dec. 6 happens to be the last day of buck hunting in Louisiana. And Dec. 6 is the date of the SECs championship football game, so if Louisiana State University if having a good season, that could effect turn out. And lower turnout always favors the incumbent.

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