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Biden Headlines Fundraiser for Landrieu

photo of Sarah Mimms
January 27, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden headlined a fundraiser for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., one of this cycle's most vulnerable Democratic incumbents, in New Orleans on Saturday. Biden said he is confident Landrieu will win reelection, according to a pool report.

"I am confident that Mary and I are going to continue this journey through 2014 because you are going to (reelect) Mary," he said.

Biden's visit this early in the cycle -- before Landrieu has even drawn a challenger -- signals how concerned Democrats are about her chances in 2014. The party has similar concerns about Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and is dispatching Bill Clinton to Little Rock to hold a kick-off event for his reelection campaign next month.

But Biden's visit to Louisiana also carries risk for Landrieu's campaign. The vice president just concluded heading the President Obama's gun control commission and is now touring the country selling the administration's recommendations, which are unlikely to sell well in red Louisiana. Landrieu has largely steered clear of the gun control debate and has yet to stake out a position on the president's proposals.

That hasn't stopped the Louisiana GOP from tying her to them in light of Biden's visit. Chairman Roger Villere called on Landrieu last week to cancel the event with "gun-grabbin' Joe Biden," calling her decision to appear with him, "a slap in the face to every Louisiana citizen who believes in the US Constitution."

Vulnerability is nothing new for Landrieu, who has never topped 52% of the vote in her three elections to the Senate and is now the only statewide-elected Democrat in Louisiana. But her last reelection fight in 2008 benefited from having Obama on the top of the ticket. With no such help this time and Landrieu's support for controversial aspects of Obama's agenda, notably her vote in favor the Affordable Care Act, Republicans view Landrieu's seat as a top pick-up opportunity.

Still, Landrieu is a known quantity and her family has a long history in electoral politics in the state. In the 1970s, her father Moon Landrieu was the mayor of New Orleans, a position her brother Mitch Landrieu, a former lieutenant governor, now holds.

Biden seemed to preview Landrieu's reelection strategy, calling her a tireless advocate for Louisiana who always does what is best for her constituents. “This woman has a way of doing things on the Senate floor that, if anyone else did it, would be exiled. She has no reluctance whatsoever to make anyone angry," Biden said.

Though no candidate has declared for the seat, several Republican names have been floated as potential challengers including Rep. Bill Cassidy, who has recently given speeches in conservative parts of the state outside of his own congressional district, a hint at a potential candidacy. Rep. John Fleming and former Rep. Jeff Landry have also been mentioned as possibilities, but Landry burned some bridges with Louisiana Republicans in his member-on-member battle against Rep. Charles Boustany last year, a contest that also drained up his war chest.

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