Why do we say this? Here’s why…
— Deborah Berry (@dberrygannett) July 26, 2016
It’s pretty clear, despite the nervousness you’ll occasionally hear in some Republican quarters about the plethora of Republicans running for the Senate in Louisiana, that the Democrats don’t have a marketable candidate.
Peterson wouldn’t have tried to gin Mary Landrieu back up, Russ Feingold-style, if they did.
The money numbers on the Senate race show pretty clearly that both Campbell and Fayard are poorly poised to do battle with the Republicans in the jungle primary field.
Take Fayard, for example. Her latest FEC filing (dated July 2) shows the campaign having reeled in $1.12 million to date, with $635,000 left on hand. That might not sound so bad, except $650,000 of that $1.12 million is a loan she made to her campaign. She’s actually spent $15,000 more than she’s raised so far.
You do not want to have a campaign that’s losing money through the second quarter of the year you’re running in. You’re supposed to be stockpiling cash in the second quarter, not blowing through all of it and then some.
And for that colossal burn rate, what’s Fayard getting out of it? Nothing. She’s little more than a blip in the polls. Which means nobody is going to give her anything anytime soon; donors don’t like throwing good money after bad on a candidate with no chance to win. Either Fayard finds a way to generate momentum or she gets humiliated on Election Day (if she even lasts that long).
As for Campbell, he’s not a whole lot stronger. His July 2 numbers show him having raised $999,000, but $500,000 of that is a loan he made to himself. Campbell is at least conserving his resources; he’s only spent $128,000 so far and he has about $870,000 on hand. But seeing as though he’s the Democrat the state’s apparatchiks, including the governor, have lined up behind, you’d think he would have been building some momentum. But he raised just under $500,000 for the second quarter, $75,000 of which ActBlue raised for him and another $40,000 came from PAC’s mostly of companies he regulates at the Public Service Commission. For a statewide race in the big-money second quarter, that’s a fairly uninspiring number.
Compare Fayard and Campbell’s performance to the Republicans in the race, and you’ll see why Peterson wanted to bring in the retread.
John Kennedy has raised $1.76 million so far, $946,000 of it brought in during the second quarter. All he’s spent to date is $380,000, $260,000 of which went out the door in the second quarter. That leaves him with $1.38 million on hand, which is slightly less than Campbell and Fayard combined. It also doesn’t count the sizable chunk of PAC money Kennedy is sitting on; his PAC merged with the Ending Spending Action Fund, a PAC run by the Ricketts family of Chicago Cubs fame, and Kennedy is one of 13 Senate candidates they’ve endorsed. The ESAFund has mostly played in Rep. Tim Huelskamp’s congressional race in Kansas and Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s race in New Hampshire so far; if they need to get involved in Kennedy’s race they’ll bring an almost unlimited amount of cash.
Charles Boustany is actually in considerably better shape than Kennedy is. Boustany has $2.52 million in the bank as of his July 2 filing, which reflects a fundraising quarter in which he took in $1.1 million. He’s spending a lot of money – Boustany has spent $2.24 million in this election cycle so far and he went through $478,000 in the second quarter. But that’s a drop in the bucket when you consider what he can raise. Boustany has raised $4.37 million in this election cycle. There are some issues of how Boustany positions himself to win in this race vis-a-vis Kennedy and his pressing on the fact that Congress has such a low approval rating, but where it comes to resources to do it there is no doubt Boustany will have them.
John Fleming has almost as much money on hand as Boustany; he’s sitting on $2.41 million. He moved $1.66 million from his congressional war chest in the second quarter, he loaned himself $694,000 and he’s raised a healthy $862,000, $536,000 of which he brought in last quarter. Fleming spent $444,000 in the second quarter, and he’s gone through $814,000 so far this cycle.
If you remove the loans Fayard and Campbell made to themselves, they don’t look all that much better than the “second tier” Republican candidates in the race. Rob Maness, for example, has loaned himself $50,000, but he’s raised about $430,000 – which is in the same ballpark as Campbell and Fayard. Maness has a burn rate which is too high, a problem he struggled with in his previous Senate run in 2014; he’s spent just under $300,000 and he’s sitting on $207,000. That isn’t a lot, and it won’t compete well with Kennedy, Fleming and Boustany’s seven-figure war chests, but as the “fourth place” Republican in the race the only reason he’s significantly trailing Fayard and Campbell is the size of the loans they’ve made to their campaigns.
And the newcomer in the race, Abhay Patel, posted some not-insignificant numbers despite not entering until June. Patel raised $203,000 and loaned himself another 100K or so, and he spent $82,000. That leaves him with $224,000 in the bank as of July 2. Again, not enough to win the race, but if he’d loaned himself a half-million bucks his numbers would look better than Fayard and quite competitive with Campbell. And that’s as one of five Republicans in this crowded field.
It’s hard to look at these figures if you’re Karen Carter Peterson and have a whole lot of hope you’re going to be able to win this race. You have a pair of candidates distinctly lacking in charisma, with bad fundraising numbers and not much to go on where messaging is concerned, and both of them have track records as losers in statewide races – not to mention neither one has a particularly strong record when it comes to ethics.
By that standard, dredging Mary Landrieu back up doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.