Second-quarter federal campaign finance reports were due to the Federal Election Commission last week, and in Louisiana's hotly contested U.S. Senate race, the figures were good for Sen. Mary Landrieu — or for Rep. Bill Cassidy, who's challenging her, depending on who you ask.
In fact, the spin could be seen in a pair of headlines on a story by Melinda Deslatte of the Associated Press. The Alexandria Town Talk topped Deslatte's story with, "Landrieu Edges Cassidy in Fundraising For Louisiana Senate Race," while The News Star of Monroe titled the same story "Cassidy Edges Closer to Landrieu in Cash."
Here's the breakdown: In the second quarter of this year, Landrieu raised $2.1 million to Cassidy's $1.6 million — hence The Town Talk headline. But when expenditures were counted, Cassidy got closer to the incumbent in cash on hand. According to Landrieu's figures, her campaign spent $3.4 million during the same time period, while Cassidy only put out $800,000.
At the end of the first quarter of 2014, Landrieu had $7.5 million cash on hand, while Cassidy had $5 million. According to the second quarter report, Landrieu now has $6.2 million on hand, while Cassidy has $5.8 million, a much smaller gap — hence The News Star headline.
The Louisiana Republican Party highlighted that in a statement that said, in part, "Mary Landrieu blew through money spending big on ads to cover up her ineffective track record as an Obama rubber stamp, and now Dr. Cassidy is well-positioned to take the fight to her in these final months."
The third candidate in the race, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, reported raising $576,000 in the second quarter — more than a third of what his fellow Republican Cassidy raised. Maness has received tea party backing statewide and nationally. Another Republican in the race, state Rep. Paul Hollis of Covington, bowed out of the contest last week and received praise from the state GOP for doing so. In the first quarter of the year, Hollis had raised just $59,000.