WASHINGTON — The next Louisiana U.S. Senate race isn’t until 2014, but, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, a likely candidate for the GOP nomination, has more money in his campaign fund than Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who has indicated she plans to seek a fourth term. Cassidy, who right now is running for a third term without opposition, raised about $210,000 in the first quarter of 2012 and had $1.6 million in the bank, while Landrieu raised just under $200,000 and had $1.2 million in cash on hand.
It is way early, especially for Landrieu, who will not begin fundraising in earnest until after the 2012 election, and who, as a three-term member of the Senate majority, will have a strong claim on national fundraising sources. But in her last two elections, Landrieu has relied on commanding money advantages over her Republican opponents, and Cassidy’s fundraising is an early indicator that he may be a competitive opponent in that regard. And, while Cassidy has a campaign to win this fall, without an opponent in sight it would appear he can use this year’s campaign to lay the groundwork for a statewide campaign, getting his message out, unrebutted, in one of the state’s largest media markets.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 87 percent of Cassidy’s money this election cycle comes from Louisiana donors, though, whoever is the Republican nominee for Senate in 2014 would expect a huge infusion of national Republican money for a seat that, considering the recent electoral history of Louisiana, Republicans would feel that by all rights should be in their column.