By Andrew Bair
The 2014 elections swept many formidable pro-abortion incumbents from the Senate. The last to remain standing is Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who has voted against the pro-life position on every vote scored by NRLC during her current six year term in office. She faces a December 6 run-off against pro-life challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
While it is undeniable that the political climate was favorable to Republicans, a closer analysis of the results shows several of the key Senate races were won or lost by the slimmest of margins.
In North Carolina, pro-life Thom Tillis defeated pro-abortion Kay Hagan by just around 48,000 votes, out of nearly 3 million cast. In Colorado, pro-life Cory Gardner’s win over pro-abortion incumbent Mark Udall was by about 44,000 votes, out of over 2 million cast. In Alaska, pro-life Dan Sullivan claimed victory over pro-abortion Mark Begich by roughly 8,000 votes. Virginia’s pro-abortion Sen. Mark Warner came within 17,671 votes of losing his seat to pro-life challenger Ed Gillespie.
Many political pundits have all but written off Sen. Landrieu. However, writing the epitaph on Landrieu is premature. A surprise win would hardly be unprecedented for the three-term senator.
Landrieu hails from a powerful Louisiana political dynasty. Her father, Moon Landrieu, was a popular mayor of New Orleans and her brother, Mitch Landrieu, a former lieutenant governor, is currently serving as the city’s mayor.
She initially won the Senate seat in 1996 by a 5,788 votes out of 1.7 million cast, a fraction of one percent, the closest Senate race ever in the state.
In 2002, Landrieu was forced into a runoff. In that year, Republicans also took the Senate and President George W. Bush had a remarkably high approval rating. Yet Landrieu prevailed in the runoff, by only 3%.
In 2008, many considered Mary Landrieu one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, yet she defied the odds by winning re-election in a year that Louisiana also voted overwhelmingly for John McCain.
Landrieu has a narrow opening now that Senate control is in Republican hands, The Nov. 4 national results ensure that Republicans will control the Senate during the next Congress, regardless of what happens in Louisiana. One of the Republicans’ most powerful arguments had been that voting for Cassidy was a vote for a Republican Senate majority. Landrieu now has a chance to redirect the focus of the race to local issues, where her campaign believes she has a stronger footing.
A recent poll by Magellan Strategies shows her challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, with a 16-point lead. A Cassidy win would mark the 9th Senate pick-up by Republicans in 2014.
Magellan Strategies notes, “The political environment will greatly limit Landrieu’s growth potential. 62% of voters disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, while 62% also believe that a Republican majority in the US Senate would best represent people like them.”
The poll also broadly asked voters where they come down on social issues, including abortion. 42.8% described themselves as very conservative while just 16.3% described themselves as very liberal on social issues. 11.3% came down in the middle.
These numbers are not a surprise to the Landrieu campaign. They are exactly why Mary Landrieu is working so hard to disguise her record on abortion. In the Lafayette Advertiser, Landrieu’s campaign released an ad obfuscating her pro-abortion voting record since 2009.
National Right to Life responded with a counter-ad, reminding voters “do not be fooled!”
Ben Clapper, National Right to Life Victory Fund Louisiana campaign director, also noted, “Mary Landrieu is also hiding the fact that she opposes legislation that will protect unborn babies after 20 weeks, a point by which unborn children are capable of feeling terrible pain during dismemberment or other late abortion techniques. A Louisiana senator should not support abortion in the fifth month of pregnancy and beyond! Louisiana voters need to study Mary Landrieu’s actions, not her words. Mary Landrieu’s 100% pro-abortion voting record is simply too extreme for Louisiana.”
Bill Cassidy holds a 100% pro-life voting record according to National Right to Life. In sharp contrast, Sen. Landrieu voted to endorse the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that gave America abortion on demand for any reason and has cost the lives of more than 56 million unborn children. Since her re-election in 2008, Mary Landrieu has compiled a 100% pro-abortion voting record. She voted for Obamacare and its pro-abortion, pro-rationing policies, and she opposes the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
“For years, Mary Landrieu has tried to have it both ways,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “When she’s in Louisiana, she claims she’s ‘pro-life,’ but when she’s back in Washington, she votes against the pro-life cause every chance she gets.”
The Louisiana runoff election will be held on December 6th.