Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., raised more than $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2014, marking the strongest fundraising haul yet for the conservative frontrunner in the race against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The Washington Examiner obtained the fundraising figures in advance of their official release later Monday, a tally that Cassidy’s supporters are banking will keep him competitive with one of the most well funded incumbents nationwide.
The $1.2 million in donations comes on the heels of a seven-figure fundraising take for Cassidy during the final months of 2013. And Cassidy's campaign said the first-quarter total exceeds the amount raised by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., during the same period four years ago.
Still, Landrieu enjoyed a more than $2 million advantage in cash on hand at the end of 2013. Her campaign has not yet released fundraising figures for the first quarter of 2014.
Cassidy, a Louisiana liver doctor, remains in a dead heat with Landrieu, a member of one of the Bayou State's most famous political families.
In total, Cassidy now has more than $5 million in cash on hand.
Landrieu is the lone Democrat left in statewide office in Louisiana — a state Mitt Romney won by 17 points in 2012. But she maintains a major name recognition edge over Cassidy, and the Louisiana representative is still attempting to squash doubts about his conservative credentials from those closely aligned with the Tea Party.
Under Louisiana’s unique open primary system, a runoff between the top two vote getters is triggered if no candidate receives a majority of support in November. Most polls show that a runoff is the most likely scenario in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races.
In Cassidy, supporters see a Republican who can effectively talk about the perils of Obamacare, given his twenty-plus years treating the uninsured in Louisiana.
And the congressman framed his fundraising efforts as proof that Louisianans had tired of Landrieu, one of the key votes in getting Obamacare across the finish line on Capitol Hill.
“Louisiana wants a senator that stands for job creation, domestic energy development and repealing Obamacare and replacing it with patient-centered solutions,” Cassidy said, dismissing Landrieu as a “rubber stamp for the president.”