Cassidy has financing advantage in Louisiana US Senate race
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s chief Democratic challenger matched his fundraising prowess in the latest quarter, but Louisiana’s Republican incumbent still has millions more in the bank for the final days of campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election as early voting is underway.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins jumped into the Senate race late in July, giving the Democratic contender only a few months to launch a campaign, build name recognition and draw in donor cash to challenge Cassidy’s bid to win reelection to a second term.
Perkins’s campaign announced the mayor raised more than $1.3 million in the fundraising period that ended Sept. 30. During the same time, Cassidy received more than $1.4 million, according to the report the campaign submitted to the Federal Election Commission.
“Our campaign has generated a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm from Louisianans since day one,” Perkins campaign manager Hilary Barrett said in a statement. She added: “Our average contribution is $43 and we have collected nearly 50,000 individual donations, which is more donations than Sen. Cassidy has collected since 2015. This campaign is focused on fighting for Louisiana, powered by people from all walks of life.”
Cassidy, however, has deeper pockets to run his campaign. The doctor from Baton Rouge has raised nearly $10.7 million for his reelection effort since the start of fundraising for the election cycle years ago, and he had more than $4.5 million in his campaign account at the end of September to pour into continued advertising.
“I want to thank every Louisianan who helped us reach this incredible milestone in our campaign,” Cassidy said in a statement. “Like them, I am not taking this election for granted. I am working hard to earn every vote and defend our state’s values in the Senate.”
Perkins had $681,000 on hand by the close of the latest fundraising period, according to his FEC report.
The quarterly reports were due Wednesday to the federal agency.
Cassidy has done more advertising than Perkins, releasing four statewide TV ads compared to one from his Democratic challenger. Thirteen other candidates are in Louisiana’s Senate race, but most have reported little to no fundraising for their campaigns.
If Cassidy cannot top 50% of the vote against his 14 challengers in the November primary election, he’ll head to a Dec. 5 runoff against the opponent who receives the most votes.
Perkins’ campaign — which has consolidated support from most of the state’s Democratic powerbrokers — hopes the West Point and Harvard educated mayor and military veteran can force Cassidy into that runoff and change the dynamics of the race in a head-to-head matchup. Perkins has the support of former President Barack Obama and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
But Cassidy remains favored to win reelection with the benefit of incumbency, the backing of President Donald Trump and the increasingly Republican voting trends in Louisiana.
Early voting in the election began Friday and continues through Oct. 27.
Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte.