Louisiana’s top two Senate candidates fought to what amounted to a draw on Election Night, leaving one of the nation’s most expensive Senate races undecided for another month.
None of the candidates crossed the 50 percent threshold needed for victory, the Associated Press projected, so Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy and three-term incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu will proceed to a runoff scheduled for December 6. Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who drew the support of the Senate Conservatives Fund, didn’t get enough support to advance.
The result of Tuesday’s vote leaves unsettled a campaign that the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports is the state’s costliest Senate race ever.
A staggering amount of cash has flooded into the race, with outside groups dropping more than $17 million and the top three candidates spending a further $25 million as of mid-October. Landrieu’s spending is nearly double that of Cassidy, $14.99 million to Cassidy’s $7.85 million.
Don’t let the money fool you, however—the race has drawn so much attention not for long policy advertorials but for issues of personality and family.
“Daughter” was the second-most Googled search term for the Louisiana race, the Washington Examiner reported. Cassidy, a doctor by trade, announced during the campaign that his teenage daughter was expecting a child.
For the senior senator from Louisiana, the lasting image from her fourth Senate campaign will be a keg stand. Not her own—but Landrieu did provide an assist to a man doing a keg stand at Louisiana State University.
Cassidy was not amused, responding to the keg stand by slamming binge-drinking as “associated with DWIs, with traffic facilities, with death on campuses, with rape of young women, with fistfights.”
Landrieu has portrayed herself as a Senate centrist who has led federal policy on the BP oil spill response, while her Republican challenger has painted himself as pro-life and pro-gun, and says will fight the president’s Affordable Care Act.
In a twist, the course of the campaign revealed that when Cassidy was a Democrat in the early 2000s, he donated $500 to Landrieu. This was before Cassidy entered politics, and the Republican congressman now calls that donation a “youthful indiscretion.”