Landrieu race a GOP victory either way

Pro-oil Democrat trailing Republican challenger in Louisiana.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Dec. 5, 2014 at 9:27 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- With big oil questions at stake, polling data show U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is falling behind her GOP challenger one day before the runoff.

Landrieu, the chair of the Senate Energy Committee, is on a last-minute push to save her seat in Louisiana.

Landrieu is seen as a pro-oil Democrat with a legacy in the U.S. southern refinery market. In defending a bill she co-authored in mid-November, the senator said the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline was good for U.S. energy security.

Standing in front of a pipeline map on the Senate floor, Landrieu said the pipeline would be a "great sign" for a U.S. energy sector seeking protection from volatility in overseas markets.

Her bill, co-sponsored by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., ultimately failed by a single vote and, by some estimates, sealed her fate in the Senate.

A survey from the Center for Responsive Politics finds big oil money behind the Louisiana race. Through November, the incumbent has received campaign cash from political action committees affiliated with ConocoPhilips, the American Petroleum Institute and Keystone XL pipeline planner TransCanada.

Her challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, meanwhile, collected campaign funds primarily from health insurers.

The runoff is Saturday. A survey average compiled by Real Clear Politics finds the incumbent senator trailing Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy by more than 16 points.

A Cassidy victory will pad the Republican leadership in the incoming Congress. When Landrieu's pipeline measure failed in mid-November, her North Dakota counterpart said the battle over Keystone XL wasn't over.

"I believe we will have the votes to pass the bill in January when a number of new Senators who support my legislation take office and the new Congress begins," he said.

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