The 11th Hour Video Attacks of Louisiana's Senate Race
The 11 a.m. hour was busy for Baton Rouge, and busy for Mary Landrieu. The Louisiana Democrat, who trails in every poll of this Saturday's U.S. Senate runoff, gathered reporters in the capital city to emphasize how open her campaign was compared to that of the Republican frontrunner Representative Bill Cassidy. (The campaign is still hitting Cassidy over his work at LSU, and whether he's "double-dipping" salaries.) Meanwhile, the Black Conservatives Fund had called a press conference to roll out its latest find, a follow-up to its undercover video of Landrieu's chief of staff telling Democrats that the senator votes with the president 97 percent of the time. Landrieu's chief of staff is named Donald Cravins, Jr. His father, Donald Cravins, Sr., is the mayor of Opelousas; he was the star of video number two, which caught him telling voters to hit the polls twice.
"If you early voted, go vote again tomorrow," said the elder Cravins. "One more time's not gonna hurt. Tomorrow we're gonna elect Earl Taylor as DA so he won't prosecute you if you vote twice."
The BCF felt good enough about this tape to give it a red carpet debut -- a dedicated web site, a long intro and outro from State Senator Elbert Guillory, the Republican party-switcher who has become the patron saint of GOP outreach to black voters.
Team Landrieu was unimpressed. First of all, the Earl Taylor reference dated the video to November 3, the day before the St. Landry parish DA won. This was spring-loaded for the final week. Second, Cravins Sr did not actually work for the campaign. There had been worry that Landrieu's campaign would be hit by the sort of sting that James O'Keefe's Project Veritas had pulled off in Colorado and Kentucky.
"I'm going on record and letting Mary Landrieu know that she is the target of our next investigation," wrote O'Keefe in a November 25 fundraising email. "To set the record straight, teams on investigators have been on the ground for weeks... and they've made progress."
But this video was not that feared sting. "Not even something from a campaign staffer?" asked spokesman Fabien Levy. "Sounds like breaking news."