I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Senator Mary Landrieu.
Not so much that I want to see her win Saturday’s runoff election against Republican Bill Cassidy — that’s probably not going to happen. But the Democratic party has pulled their support, cancelling more than $2 million in ad buys while some outside groups who supported her candidacy have actually switched sides and are now backing Cassidy. Major party figures have found something else to do besides coming to Louisiana and appearing on her behalf and local Democrats, besides being dispirited and uninterested in the runoff, are going to be staying home in droves on election day if early voting patterns hold up.
So things couldn’t get much worse for Landrieu — except they just did.
Landrieu has been a strong backer of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana. Considering how many jobs in the state are dependent on that industry, she could hardly have survived this long without being a fossil fuel booster.
But in a last ditch attempt to prove her independence from liberal Democrats, Landrieu warned her constituents that if she lost, the next ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, would be a Senator “who’s all for windmills and alternative energy, and doesn’t support the oil and gas industry.”
Landrieu said this just as Cantwell issued a fundraising letter on her behalf.
Beleaguered Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., underdog in her forthcoming Senate runoff election, warned Pelican State voters on Wednesday that her defeat would elevate an advocate of “windmills” to a powerful position on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
She was speaking about Democratic colleague Sen. Maria Cantwell, who just then was sending out an email appeal to raise money for Landrieu.
“There’s … much we can accomplish together if we send Mary Landrieu back to the Senate,” Cantwell told her donors.
Louisiana is a big oil and gas producing state, and Landrieu is a big ally of the industry. She has chaired the Senate Energy Committee with Democrats in the majority. She will become ranking minority member if she survives re-election. Otherwise, Cantwell will become senior Democrat on the panel.
Hence, this warning from Landrieu in New Roads, Louisiana:
“If I don’t get back there as a senior member of the committee, we’re gonna have a woman who I like very much (but) I’m not sure Louisiana is going to think very much of a senator from Washington state who’s all for windmills and alternative energy, and doesn’t support the oil and gas industry.”
Cantwell has been a major wind energy advocate on Capitol Hill, and a critic of billions in federal subsidies to the oil and gas industry.
Despite their differences, Cantwell has gone to the mat for Landrieu. Earlier this year, Landrieu and other endangered Democrats were feted at the home of a major Seattle donor to the League of Conservation Voters. Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., were on hand to smooth out any rough spots over oil and gas legislation.
Cantwell was still at it Wednesday.
“Your calendar might say Election Day passed a month ago, but Mary Landrieu is still fighting for a critical seat in the Senate,” Cantwell told donors.
She warned that Landrieu’s GOP challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, has “the Koch brothers and shadowy right wing groups on his side, but Mary’s got us.”
Beware the Koch Brothers and shadowy right wing groups like the Republican National Committee. Whatever.
Landrieu’s desperation to appear more Republican is only fueling the notion that she’s a liberal Democrat. Trailing politicians frequently make this mistake and it never works. Trying to fool people into thinking you’re something you’re not usually ends up making the candidate look pathetic.
And as the hours count down to the end, the last Democratic Senator still on her feet in the south starts to sink into political oblivion.