We’re not going to say the price of poker is too high for anybody else to get into the game, or that the other candidates in the Louisiana governor’s race which has already begun can’t catch him, but so far Attorney General Jeff Landry has set what might be an impossibly high bar from a fundraising standpoint based on campaign finance reports filed this week.
As of Thursday, four major Republican candidates and one Independent have said they want to be the next governor, but right now, only one has the cash needed to run a formidable campaign.
Jeremy Alford, who published LA Politics Weekly, says what is going on in this race so far is not common.
“In covering more than two decades of Louisiana politics, I have never seen a gubernatorial candidate more organized and ready for a fight than Jeff Landry,” Alford told WBRZ.
Campaign finance reports filed Wednesday show Landry has $5.01 million to work with already. The next closest is John Schroder with $2.4 million.
The other three are trailing. Hunter Lundy has $1.6 million; Sharon Hewitt has $617k; and Richard Nelson has $197k.
Alford says Landry has a lot going in his favor.
“There is a super PAC that is supporting Jeff Landry, there is a leadership PAC that is supporting Jeff Landry and he has an endorsement from the Republican Party,” Alford said.
Landry’s got well more than $2 million sitting in those PACs, so his total campaign war chest is in the $7.5 million range.
Give Schroder credit, though. His $2.4 million is a figure that will play in the race. The question we’ve got is where Schroder’s votes will come from – he’s positioned himself as a solid conservative, and his base is conservative voters, and so far those voters seem to like Landry better than Schroder.
That’s a problem for Hewitt as well, and her report showing less than a million dollars is a problem where her viability is concerned absent a massive jump in fundraising over the first three or four months of this year. Nelson’s report doesn’t show him to be a major candidate at this point.
As for Lundy, he’s hired former John Kennedy political guru Preston Robinson as his consultant and he’s got a decent chunk of change in his campaign account. But a Democrat-turned-independent? In this race? Somebody’s going to have to map that one out for us, because we can’t see it as a viable path to victory.
It’s looking less and less that Garret Graves will get in, so once Shawn Wilson enters the field in a couple of weeks and begins collecting all the Democrat money, that’ll likely be it. Anybody else who’d get in will be facing an incredibly tough climb fundraising-wise – between Landry, Schroder, Lundy and Wilson you’ll already have four candidates with a million dollars to spend.
We said it earlier this week and Jeff Sadow said it today – everything points to a Landry-Wilson runoff and an easy Landry win in November. But this being a Louisiana governor’s race, we’re duty-bound to offer a caveat: these things almost never play out the way they’re supposed to, and there’s usually some dark horse who comes out of nowhere to win.
Of course, Landry holding $5 million makes things quite a bit different than in previous years. For historical reference, David Vitter as the 2015 frontrunner reported $3.5 million in cash on hand on Dec. 31, 2014. Bobby Jindal had $2.7 million on hand on Dec. 31, 2006, in advance of the 2007 gubernatorial race that he won in the primary. So Landry’s cash position is a commanding one indeed.