GOP Will Spend Big in Louisiana Senate Runoff

by Eliana Johnson

A potential runoff in the Louisiana Senate race won’t take place for another month, but Republican groups are already throwing down millions of dollars to reserve airtime to blast Mary Landrieu after the election ends.

The political-action committee Ending Spending, founded by former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts, spent over $2.4 million on an ad buy set to begin after the November election. In Louisiana’s jungle primary system, if no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote next month, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff set to take place December 6. Neither the Democratic incumbent, Mary Landrieu, nor the Republican front-runner, Representative Bill Cassidy, is polling above 50 percent, so it’s likely they will face off against each other in December, and Ending Spending is preparing to pummel Landrieu with attack ads. 

The group recently commissioned a poll showing Landrieu losing to both Cassidy in a two-way race. But with the GOP divided among Cassidy, Maness, and libertarian candidate Thomas Clements, who is polling at 2 percent, no Republican is pulling in 50 percent of the vote. Cassidy outperforms Maness by six points when both are pitted head to head against Landrieu, with Maness losing to the incumbent by three points. 

Ending Spending isn’t backing a Republican candidate in the race, and will hit Landrieu in the runoff. “This poll is more bad news for Mary Landrieu,” the group’s president, Brian Baker, tells National Review Online. “She can do keg-stands at LSU games for the rest of the season and it won’t change the fact that she is a creature of Washington and the people of Louisiana don’t want her in the Senate anymore.”

Ending Spending and other groups are assuming that a runoff is all but guaranteed. Politico reported last month that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already reserved $3.4 million in airtime, and the outside groups Freedom Partners and Crossroads GPS have also made seven-figure buys. 

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