Louisiana incumbents seeking re-election to Congress dwarfing challengers in fundraising

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana voters head to the polls Nov. 8 to decide who will represent them on Capitol Hill. And, as usually is the case, the incumbents in Congress have a decided advantage when it comes to raising money for their campaign war chests.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission show, for the filing period that ended Sept. 30, incumbent U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) raised $36 million and had $15 million on hand.

By comparison, challenger Luke Mixon’s receipts totaled $1.8 million, Gary Chambers’ $1.5 million, and Syrita Steib’s $260,959. They are three of the 12 candidates signed up to challenge Kennedy who have been endorsed by the Louisiana Democratic Party.

Dillard University professor and political analyst Dr. Robert Collins said he is not shocked that Kennedy’s fundraising has far outpaced his challengers.

“When I worked in the Senate, we would have competitive races and we would spend maybe about a fourth of what Sen. Kennedy has in his war chest,” Collins said. “This race is currently not close in the polling. So, it’s pretty staggering that he’s able to raise $36 million. I think it just shows you the power of incumbency, the power of political action committee money.”

For the U.S. House of Representatives, GOP Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Metairie and Democratic Congressman Troy Carter of New Orleans also are seeking re-election.

For the same filing period, Scalise’s total receipts exceeded $18 million and he had nearly $5 million in cash on hand. Democratic challenger Katie Darling’s receipts totaled $36,657.

“Steve Scalise is not receiving any serious challengers in this cycle,” Collins said. “But, given his leadership position in the House, in that, he might be Majority Leader one day and he might be Speaker of the House one day, it certainly does not surprise me.”

Collins said Carter also did not attract a major opponent in his bid to continue to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

The FEC lists Carter’s receipts for that reporting period at just shy of $3 million, with $615,000 on hand. Carter first was elected to Congress in 2021, filling the seat vacated by then-Congressman Cedric Richmond who resigned to work for President Biden’s administration.

Daniel Lux is challenging Carter and reported he received $25, 915 during the same time frame.

“Congressman Carter did not receive any serious challengers in this cycle,” Collins said. “I do not expect him to receive any serious challengers anytime in the near future.”

Collins said that in some swing states outside Louisiana, turnout will be critical to whether a congressional seat flips from one party to another.

“Based on polling data, we’re expecting Black voter turnout to track 10to 15 points behind white turnout,” Collins said. “So that will be interesting, in some of these races. If the Black vote doesn’t turn out, that would likely flip the seat to the Republicans.”

But in Louisiana, the incumbents are expected to do well.

“We do not expect any surprises in the state of Louisiana on election night,” Collins said.

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