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Democratic Party Disappears in South

Sen. Mary Landrieu, the last Southern Senate Democrat, loses (Photo credit: Senate Democrats/Flickr)

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s career ended tonight when Rep. Bill Cassidy, the Baton Rouge Republican, easily defeated her in the runoff. More:

With Mr. Cassidy’s victory in what had been the last undecided Senate race of the midterm elections, the Republicans gained a total of nine Senate seats, giving them 54 senators and firm control of the upper chamber when the 114th Congress convenes in January.

For Democrats, Saturday’s outcome was yet another sobering reminder of their party’s declining prospects in the South, a region they dominated for much of the 20th century. Ms. Landrieu was the last statewide elected Democrat in Louisiana, and Mr. Cassidy will join a fellow Louisiana Republican, David Vitter, in the Senate, making it the first time in 138 years that a Democrat from the state has not sat in the Senate.

From the Times-Picayune‘s analysis:

Two days after the primary election, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee canceled its television advertising buys in Louisiana, and outside left-leaning groups didn’t step in to fill the void. Between Nov. 4 and Dec. 6, 96 percent of the political advertisements running on Louisiana TV stations supported Cassidy.

“I am very surprised that Democrats abandoned a three-term Senator that was well regarded in her caucus,” said Larry Sabato, the head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “I wouldn’t blame her for being bitter. ”

It’s not just that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pulled out. Landrieu’s fellow Senators with wealthy political action committees (PACs), like Majority Leader Harry Reid, didn’t step in to help. The Democrats have said they didn’t feel as if they could invest in Landrieu’s race after Nov. 4 because they need to reserve funds for Senators running in 2016.

“[The Democrats said] it would be money they could spend in 2016. I find that to be flimsy excuse,” said Jennifer Duffy, who has watched the Louisiana Senate race for The Cook Report, a Washington D.C. publication. “Does that mean you don’t show up to help one of your own? You don’t even try?”

I agree, it was pretty harsh for the national Democratic Party to cut Landrieu off. But I don’t blame them. There was simply no way she was going to win in Louisiana, in 2014, with Barack Obama as unpopular as he is here, and with her having voted for Obamacare and the HHS mandate. Every penny that the national party would have given her after her showing in November would have been wasted. The party knew that. Should it have given millions it could have saved for 2016 to a candidate who was doomed? I can’t see it. The only difference it would have made is to further impoverish the national party.

What do you think?

Another bit of notable Democratic news: Edwin W. Edwards failed in his bid to return to Congress. It was the first election the priapic octogenarian has ever lost.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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