Spending Reaches $13.5M By Candidates For Louisiana Governor

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's four major candidates for governor have spent $13.5 million on the race, with Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter's campaign shelling out $6.2 million of that on its own.

         The latest fundraising reports were due to the state ethics office Wednesday, showing contributions and expenses from Sept. 15 through Oct. 4. The pace of spending has grown as the Oct. 24 election nears.




         In the most recent 20-day period, Vitter spent $2.8 million as he filled the airwaves with TV spots, sought to combat slipping poll numbers and launched attacks against two Republican competitors, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

         The senator continues to outperform Angelle and Dardenne in the polls, though he's fallen behind the lone major Democrat in the race, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, as the GOP candidates split support.

         Vitter has $1.4 million in the bank of the $7.6 million he's raised for the campaign.




         After Vitter, Edwards was sitting on the heftiest campaign account, reporting $1.2 million in the bank after spending the least among the four contenders in the latest period, $451,000. He's raised the least among the four major candidates, but he's also been among the most frugal, shelling out less than $1.3 million so far.

         Dardenne spent $1.1 million in the 20-day period and had $700,000 left in his campaign account for the final days ahead of the primary. He's poured $2.6 million of campaign cash into the race.

         Angelle spent $756,000 in the new reporting period, but he's been a high spender overall, with his campaign shelling out $3.4 million. He had $569,000 remaining cash on hand heading into the last stretch.

         Louisiana's open primary places all candidates, regardless of party, in an election against each other. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a Nov. 21 runoff. Edwards, with his solid base of Democratic support, appears assured a spot in that runoff.




         Several political action committees also have sizable bank accounts to support or oppose candidates leading into Election Day, according to fundraising reports.

         The biggest account still belongs to a super PAC supporting Vitter's candidacy, called the Fund for Louisiana's Future, which has been running attack ads against Dardenne and Angelle. The PAC reported nearly $1.6 million in the bank.

         An organization supporting Edwards, calling itself Louisiana Families First, reported $376,000. And a group backing Angelle, called Louisiana Rising PAC, had $276,000 remaining on hand.

         Meanwhile, the Louisiana Water Coalition — a PAC seeking to elect anyone but Vitter and running ads attacking the senator for his 2007 prostitution scandal — had $466,000 in the bank. The PAC has one donor: Talbot Carmouche & Marcello, a law firm that has filed lawsuits against oil and gas companies for coastal wetlands damage. Vitter opposes the lawsuits.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte




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