(The Center Square) – US Senator John Kennedy is a slam dunk for re-election, easily beating all competitors in both fundraising and public support.
Ultimately, while Kennedy’s Democratic challengers predict a runoff after the Nov. 8 primary, an October poll and Kennedy’s massive fundraising advantage make a Democratic Louisiana senator a highly unlikely prospect.
An Oct. 10-11 public poll of 633 likely voters found that 53% planned to vote for Kennedy “if the election was today.” Former fighter pilot Luke Mixon, a Gov. John Bel Edwards-backed Democrat, received 16% of the vote, while communications consultant Gary Chambers received 8%. Democrat Syrita Steib received 6% support and 14% were undecided.
Kennedy’s 37-point lead in October aligns with the other two polls conducted on the race this year, an Echelon Insights poll of 506 likely voters that gave him a 35-point lead in September, and a JMC Analytics – Poll of 600 likely voters in March showed the incumbent 39 points ahead.
Kennedy also eclipses his peers in fundraising, having raised about 10 times as much as his challengers combined.
Campaign funding through October 19 reports show that Kennedy has raised more than $38 million and spent over $26 million, leaving him with approximately $13.5 million in cash — record numbers in Louisiana.
Mixon had the second-highest total at about $2 million, of which he spent about $1.7 million, leaving him with $295,980 as of October 19. Chambers raised $1.6 million and spent more than he raised. According to Ballotpedia, Chambers reported $54,500 in cash as of the same date.
“I’m honored by the outpouring of support from people across Louisiana,” Kennedy said in a statement about his fundraiser. “With inflation at its highest level in 40 years, soaring crime and soaring energy prices, Louisiana residents know the stakes are high. I promise to keep fighting for Louisiana and to be a strong voice against the madness in Washington.”
Political Forecasters at FiveThirtyEight give Kennedy a 93 percent chance of returning to the Senate. The Cook Political Report Prices the “solid Republican” race.
Separately, Mixon has been ramping up TV ad buying in recent weeks, while Chambers is laying off campaign staff and relying on a low-budget baseline campaign.
Both men predict that Kennedy will receive less than 50% of the vote on November 8th, which would result in a runoff between the top two in the December 10th general election.
“We’re expanding our TV advertising and (get the vote) efforts nationwide and launching radio advertising ahead of the early voting,” Mixon said in a prepared statement to NOLA.com. “Kennedy has hit a cap, our campaign is soaring and this race is headed for a runoff.”
Like Mixon, Chambers believes voters will see his name next to the incumbent at December’s election.
“We’re doing things that help us across the state and locally,” he told the news site. “The most important issue I speak about is a government that works for all, not just some.”