Healthy Bottom Lines For Most Of Louisiana’s Delegation As 2012 Congressional Elections Approach

The fourth-quarter fundraising disclosures are out for candidates in the 2012 federal elections, and so far it looks like challengers will in most cases have a very difficult time overcoming the war chests current members of the Louisiana congressional delegation have been building.

Of course, two of those incumbents will be facing off against each other. Jeff Landry and Charles Boustany, both Republicans, were thrown together in Louisiana’s new 3rd District in last year’s redistricting process and the resulting battle will likely be the top electoral story in Louisiana this fall.

So far Boustany appears to have the upper hand, at least in terms of finances. His fourth-quarter disclosure statement has him holding $1,270,797 in cash on hand after raising an impressive $1,141,075 in the fourth quarter (Boustany reports having spent $431,607 during the period). True to his reputation for being popular with the K-Street crowd Boustany got a whopping $524,143 in PAC money for the fourth quarter, which was 46 percent of his total fundraising. A good deal of Boustany’s PAC cash is coming from medical associations (he’s a doctor)…

Landry’s figures are more modest. He holds $534,147 in cash on hand as of Dec. 31, having raised $714,327 and spent $178,935 in the fourth quarter. Only some $131,296 of that came from PAC’s, which is just 18 percent of his fundraising (compared to Boustany’s 46 percent) but a perusal of his top donors shows that while Boustany is raising lots of money from the medical profession Landry is the favorite of the offshore and maritime service industry…

The Boustany-Landry mashup looks like the only one of the state’s congressional races to contain any real drama, as the majority of the delegation have healthy war chests.

Republican John Fleming is rumored to have a Democrat opponent brewing in the 4th District, though none have come forward yet. Fleming raised the largest amount outside of Boustany in the fourth quarter, with $797,315 coming in. Of that figure, all but $171,500 came from individual donations rather than PAC’s – the $622,776 from individual donors was the highest of any of Louisiana’s delegation in the fourth quarter. Fleming’s advocacy of natural gas drilling clearly has won him friends in that industry, though he’s also doing quite well from the medical profession (Fleming is also a doctor)…

Fleming spent $461,942 to raise those dollars, though, so his cash on hand figure of $436,125 is a little less than Landry’s – though as of right now it’s probably unlikely that Fleming will draw a Democrat opponent in Northwest Louisiana who can match the war chest Boustany is building to hit Landry with.

The third doctor in Louisiana’s congressional delegation, Bill Cassidy of the 6th District, is building a very sizable war chest in preparation for a probable Democrat challenge (though no opponent has come forth just yet) in the fall. Cassidy raised $879,816 in the fourth quarter and spent just $283,311, leaving him with a monster stash of $1,485,576 to lead the way for the state’s congressional delegation.

Cassidy is something of a cross between Boustany’s K-Street success and Landry and Fleming’s individual-based fundraising, as he reeled in $333,612 – or 38 percent of his 4th quarter take – from PAC’s. Cassidy’s fundraising profile is similar to Boustany and Fleming, though, in that the medical profession and oil and gas lead the way for his war chest…

While the two incumbents from the New Orleans area – Steve Scalise and Cedric Richmond – hadn’t filed their 4th quarter disclosures by press time, Louisiana’s other congressman Rodney Alexander appears to be struggling to build a war chest that would give him protection against a challenge from either the Democrats or another Republican. Alexander has only $89,851 in the bank as of December 31, which is not only far and away the worst figure among the state’s delegation but one of the puniest stashes in all of Congress.

The interesting thing about Alexander’s figure is that he didn’t fail to raise money in the 4th quarter – with $580,471 coming in he did reasonably well considering his largely rural and poor district. His problem is his burn rate. Alexander spent $492,669, more than anybody else in the delegation – even more than Boustany and Landry, who are running against each other.

Alexander’s fundraising contains a healthy 32 percent from PAC’s ($186,731), and it’s no surprise that agricultural interests and lobbyists (he’s on the House Appropriations Committee) figure prominently in his fundraising mix…

So far, though, nobody has come forth to challenge Alexander regardless of that inviting $89,000 figure.

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