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Nunn Ya Business: Landrieu, Cassidy Jockey Over Outside Forces

With attack ads beginning to choke off every commercial break, Louisiana's U.S. Senate race is heading from the backstretch into the final turn Polls continue to show U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-New Orleans) and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) in a tight race, meaning the campaigns are also seeking help from outside forces to get an edge. This week, a leak showed how national Democrats viewed the race, and a New York Times columnist suggested Landrieu could pick up an unlikely endorsement.


Early this week, the national Democratic Party was feeling exposed following the leak of a U.S. Senate candidate's campaign memo. Michelle Nunn, a Georgia Democrat who is running for the Senate, saw an internal strategy memo splashed across the Web for all to see, thanks to the conservative National Review. In addition to info about Nunn's methods of targeting key voting demographics that could help her win, the document revealed how national Democrats ranked the 2014 races.


When the memo was drafted in 2013, the Louisiana race ranked second among the national Dems' priority campaigns, where they would devote the most money and resources (Arkansas' Mark Pryor was first). The Cassidy campaign was quick to jump on the fresh fodder for the base, sending out a fundraising e-mail within hours of the leak.


"This is the second most important race in the country to Democrats and they will stop at nothing to protect it," Cassidy's message to supporters said. "Please help our campaign today by making a contribution. Now that we've seen their playbook, we know they will invest millions upon millions of dollars to protect President Obama's agenda."


Asked for a response Tuesday, Landrieu's campaign wouldn't settle for second best.


"Mary is treating this race like the most important race in the country, just as she has in each of her previous elections," said Fabien Levy, the Landrieu campaign's Communications Director. "There's nothing more important to Mary than fighting for Louisiana."


Landrieu got the business in the endorsement race, too. In a New York Times column published over the weekend, famed business columnist Joe Nocera wrote that Landrieu could be picking up an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


"At the most recent Committee of 100 meeting, Rob Engstrom, the chamber’s national political director, told the group that the chamber planned to support Mary Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat who is running for re-election to the Senate," Nocera writes.


The business group doesn't back too many Democrats these days, as a more deeply divided Congress pushes them further to the right. According to the Washington Post, the Chamber only endorsed two Democrats in the 2012 Congressional election cycle. But Landrieu's staunch support of the energy industry could keep her in line with the group, even in a year when the Louisiana election could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. A Chamber spokeswoman didn't confirm that the group is endorsing Landrieu.


In the case of the Chamber of Commerce and national Democratic Party, big fall spending could be enough to tilt the tight race, but there's no word yet on what kind of resources either group would sink into the race. Another outside group, the Koch-funded Americans for Progress, has been in Louisiana running anti-Landrieu (but not pro-Cassidy) ads since last year.


As Nocera suggested at the end of his column, any help for a candidate in a close contest is, "Better late than never."

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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Michael Weber, B.A.


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