Chamber of Commerce Endorsement May Be Key for Landrieu, Dems

Image: Chamber of Commerce Endorsement May Be Key for Landrieu, Dems (Jan Somma-Hammel/Staten Island Advance/Landov)

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 07:04 AM

By Cathy Burke

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A U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu might not only tip a tight race with GOP challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy in her favor, but could also help save Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's job.

At a recent Chamber meeting, national political director Rob Engstrom said the pro-business group would back Landrieu for her re-election, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera wrote, though Engstrom later told The Hill in a text message, "No decisions ‎have been made in the LA Senate race."

The incumbent, who been considered vulnerable in her re-election bid, is behind Cassidy by just 1 percentage point, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls, and a chamber nod could tip the scale in her favor, Breitbart reports.

But because of Louisiana's late general election – the state holds its primary in November, with the two top vote-getters moving onto a runoff in December – a chamber endorsement of Landrieu could also conceivably be the Nevada Democratic majority leader's "last line of defense to hang on to his leader's gavel," Breitbart said.

The chamber's support of preserving the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes foreign sales of certain manufactured goods, and of immigration reform have put it "on the opposite side of many conservatives," Breitbart reports.

The group also been stung by the loss in Georgia of Chamber-backed GOP Rep. Jack Kingston in his runoff with businessman David Perdue – "perhaps the first time the chamber's endorsement cost a candidate an election in a Republican primary," Breitbart's Mike Flynn wrote.

Yet the chamber's clout comes with deep pockets.

The political arms of big corporations have forked over nearly five times as much money to Landrieu as to Cassidy, according to fundraising data compiled byThe Wall Street Journal.

Industry groups have run TV ads supporting her re-election, and several Washington trade associations that normally back Republicans, led by energy groups, are supporting Landrieu, The Journal said.

Big business also likes Landrieu's voting record, The Journal reports. According to a vote scorecard from the chamber, Landrieu votes more often for pro-business legislation than conservative Texas Republican Sen.Ted Cruz.

Related Stories:
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Defends Visit to Cuba
Democrat Landrieu Banking on 'Clout'

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