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National Republicans Pull Ads in Louisiana

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008, during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on disaster recovery. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has decided to pull its television advertising out of Louisiana, a decision that drastically reduces the party's chances at its lone takeover opportunity in this election cycle.

The ads, according to buy information obtained by The Fix, will end next Tuesday -- two weeks before the Nov. 4 election between Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) and state Treasurer John Kennedy (R).

NRSC communications director Rebecca Fisher offered no comment when asked about the move to pull down the ads.

The decision to stop advertising in the race against Landrieu reflects a recognition by the NRSC of the stark financial reality it faces in the fall campaign. The Republican committee has been consistently outraised by its Democratic counterpart and, as the political environment has worsened for the GOP in recent weeks, several Republican senators that appeared safe -- Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) to name two -- have suddenly appeared more vulnerable.

In recent days the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has launched ads in both Kentucky and Georgia and it's not a stretch to imagine the money once earmarked for Louisiana will now make its way to defend those two incumbents. There has also been some discussion of a significant independent expenditure effort by the RNC aimed at Senate races -- first reported by Jmart -- but no specifics of any such deal have been made public.

The news is a blow for Kennedy who was personally lured into the race by former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, and touted as one of the few recruiting successes for Senate GOPers in an admittedly difficult cycle.

Little polling has been done in the state but until recently the two sides disagreed vehemently on Kennedy's chances. Democrats have long believed that Kennedy is less of a star than Republicans make him out to be and insisted that Landrieu would win comfortably. Republicans pushed back that the state was turning more conservative by the day and that the math simply didn't add up for Landrieu.

The NRSC's decision to pull their resources out of the state makes Kennedy's task significantly more difficult. Those familiar with the Kennedy campaign argue he will have enough resources to win the race but with Landrieu and the DSCC now pounding him on television it's hard to see how the NRSC's pull out as anything but bad news for Kennedy's chances.

Given the number of states in which Democrats are currently on offense, the campaign arms of the Senate and House Republicans are going to be forced to make more hard decisions like these in the coming 20 days.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 15, 2008; 4:02 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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LPB (Louisiana Public Broadcasting) hosted a Landrieu-Kennedy debate ( It's interesting to watch. They also have a show called "Public Square" on 10/22 7 PM CT that will highlight Louisiana's stake in the Presidential election.

Posted by: weblpb | October 16, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

What's the status of Louisiana in the presidential race? I haven't seen any October polls for Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, or Kentucky. These states all went for Clinton in '92 and '96 and, though in many way quite conservative, still have active Democratic parties. Given Obama's strength in Missouri, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida and the Bush-McCain destruction of the economy and foreign policy, these states should be in play.

Posted by: lfivepoints69yahoocom | October 16, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic money advantage is taking its toll. 60 seats didn't seem possible a month ago but now...? Oh yeah, I can foresee the Dems having a filibuster-proof 60 come January 09.

Posted by: dbitt | October 16, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I am forever marveled at the stupidity of the American voter. How in the hell can anyone vote for a Democrat??? These clowns gave us FANNIE MAE & FREDDIE MAC. Barney Frank, Gregory Meeks, Maxine Waters, Charles Schumer, Christopher Dodd! They alone ARE THE CRIMINALS that have brought our economy to it's knees. Tax cuts didn't do it! These criminal Democrats did it!

Posted by: boomgoesbust | October 16, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe that Louisiana is in the mix! This makes my night and the rest of the whole month! While Mary is a Blue Dog still she can be counted upon to stand up when right is right. She is a fighter for Louisiana and especially New Orleans which is still in need of infrastructural improvements to prevent flooding from mild hurricanes, rebuilding mass transit, and bringing and developing new businesses to provide jobs with a living wage for New Orleanians and the metro area..

All things are possible with Democratic wins in November. Louisiana is BLUE!

Posted by: bwaatrnwg | October 15, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Mary Landrieu does have a conservative voting record, but she pretty much would have to to get elected from Louisiana. As for whether a Republican would be better, what they really care about is organizational and electoral support. As long as Mary Landrieu votes for her party in organizational decisions and doesn't campaign for Republicans (there goes Lieberman), they're happy to have her--because they know she's the best they'll get.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 15, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

They are spending their coin trying to pump air into a dropping McCain polling with little success. RNC ads seem strictly anti-Obama and little else for state rep and senate races. They have to cut and run somewhere to make up the difference.

Posted by: jameschirico | October 15, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Landrieu is a Republican!

Aside from Nelson (another “Republican”) she has the worst party voting record among the Democrats.

Add Prior to the list and you have the only 3 Democrats who supported the Bolton nomination.

She was one of only 4 Democrats to vote against repealing the Bush tax cuts.

She was one of only a few who voted to support drilling in ANWR (not even McCain supports this).

She voted for confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts.

And ohh yeah she was one of the few Dems who supported the Patriot Act and Protect America amendment of the Patriot Act.

She is also on the list of the 20 most corrupt members of congress.

The Dems would be much better off if the Republicans won this election. She is the female version of Lieberman.

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 15, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Told you. She's easily going to get over 55 percent. Wouldn't even be surprised to see her get to 60. Mary's a star down here. She's one of the best Senators in Congress. And one of the most underrated elected-officials in the country. I'm biased but I don't see how anyone couldn't like her.

Posted by: jdunph1 | October 15, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"His name is John Kennedy. Name recognition alone should win the contest."

In Louisiana, Kennedy is actually the less famous last name.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 15, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I see Republican money, even McCain's public funds, increasingly being targeted to protect vital incumbents in Rebublican enclaves. It looks like money for Republican candidates is getting uncharacteristally scarce.

How would you like to be going into a debate tonight as the candidate of the party controlling the White House on a day that saw the Dow plunge 733 points?

Posted by: Stonecreek | October 15, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

His name is John Kennedy. Name recognition alone should win the contest.

Posted by: bondjedi | October 15, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ya know. They had it all. House. Senate. White House. Then 9/11 happened. Major mojo. "Lead us Mr. President."

And what does the country have to show for it all?

Future generations will find it hard to fathom just how much was squandered away.

So into the wilderness you go Republican's. Come back when you have something to contribute.

Posted by: DonJasper | October 15, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I love the money for votes america.

Too bad most of the money comes out
of my union dues or my taxes.

The weather in Mexico is incredible,
a few more years and the Mexicans
will need to put up a fence to keep
us Gringos out.

Viva' Mexico'

Posted by: USA3 | October 15, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Louisiana changed its election law- no more runoffs in Louisiana. You just need a plurality now, and I don't think there's even a 3rd candidate in the race but there could be a 3rd party or independent. I'm not sure. Either way, it doesn't matter.

Posted by: chilidogger | October 15, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

It is possible the NRSC is just hoping that Landrieu will not be over 50% on Nov 4th so they can contest this election during the runoff. Remember, Landrieu had to go to a runoff in December 2002.

Posted by: rjwyatt | October 15, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully this year will be a blowout for Democrats. I'm sick and tired of the incompetent government the Republicans have forced onto all of us for lo these many years.

So long, GOP. It certainly was painful knowing you.

Posted by: neon_bunny | October 15, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see more analysis of this issue by The Fix. Here in MN, the Dems have added MN-6 to their 'Red to Blue' program, meaning they'll start financially supporting El Tinklenberg (for real) in his bid to unseat freshman Michele Bachmann. Bob Anderson is running for the IP, though his party actually endorsed Tinklenberg. I have not seen any polling for this race, which Bachmann has been expected to win easily.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 15, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

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