By Dave Andrusko
Even though pro-life Rep. Bill Cassidy thumped pro-abortion Sen. Mary Landrieu by almost 14 points, a video report the New York Times put out ahead of Saturday’s run-off was reason enough not to be overconfident. (More about that in a second.)
The final tally found Cassidy with 712,330 votes to Landrieu’s 561,099. A runoff was necessary because on November 4, no one candidate reached 50%, as required by state law.
How could Cassidy win by over 150,000 votes two days ago when Landrieu had more votes than Cassidy did a month prior? Simply because virtually all the votes (14%) that went to a candidate supported by the Tea Party were expected to—and did—go to Cassidy in the runoff.
As NRL News Today has discussed extensively, Cassidy’s victory raises to nine the gain for Republicans in the United States Senate. In addition to Rep. (and now Senator-elect) Cassidy, other winners included Dan Sullivan in Alaska, Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Cory Gardner in Colorado, Joni Ernst in Iowa, Steve Daines in Montana, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Mike Rounds in South Dakota, and Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia.
It is no doubt true that one reason Landrieu lost was because it was a Republican year and because there is such strong opposition in Louisiana, as there is almost everywhere, to President Obama. But there is a more fundamental reason that would have placed her re-election at risk in a more favorable political environment: she is pro-abortion in a state that is overwhelmingly pro-life.
That overwhelmed the advantages outline in the Times video. As Jeremy Alford of LApolitics.com told the Times, Landrieu is “part of this political dynasty that lives in the imagination of the state.” Dean Baquet of the New York Times told the interviewer, “You could not exaggerate how big a deal the Landrieu family is in New Orleans.”
Her brother, Mitch, is the current mayor of New Orleans. The family patriarch, Moon Landrieu, was the near-legendary mayor from 1970-78.
Abortion is a big issue in Louisiana, which is why Landrieu desperately tried to run away from her voting record—she voted against the pro-life position on every vote scored by NRLC during her current six year term in office—and her near-universal support for pro-abortion President Obama.
Press Cross, a political science professor from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, told the Times, “Gradually Catholics started to listen to the abortion message and that issue started to really become a preeminent issue and as it did, they started to move to Republican Party.”
And Louisiana Right to Life was heavily involved in educating voters. As they explained in a release, this included distributing over 200,000 pieces of Voter Education Literature, townhall meetings, a blizzard of radio ads reminding citizens that when they voted not to forget unborn babies, and a myriad of other efforts to remind the public that the runoff was December 6.
After Cassidy had won, Louisiana Right to Life said the following:
We want to thank our donors, staff, volunteers, and everyone else from throughout the state who worked so hard for so long on this election. Hundreds of citizen volunteers from the most northern parts of Louisiana to the most southern parts, and everything in between, responded to the call to educate their communities on the need to protect the right to life of unborn children. The pro-life issue made a tremendous impact in this election. It cannot be overlooked in any future Louisiana election.