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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

December 3, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Cantwell raises cash for Landrieu, who bashes her “windmills” focus

Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell sent out a fundraising appeal Wednesday morning for fellow Sen. Mary Landrieu, the embattled Louisiana Democrat fighting to retain her seat in a runoff election.

Cantwell’s appeal, part of a national Democratic “moneybomb,” praised Landrieu as “a critical ally over the years… an ally I’m counting on in the years to come.” The email asked for $5 or more to raise $100,000 for the race by midnight, “to keep a strong, fighting Democrat in the U.S. Senate.”

But even as the fundraising email went out, Landrieu was talking a bit of trash about her benefactor — portraying Cantwell as a pro-environmentalist threat to the good, fossil fuel-loving voters of the Pelican State.

David Weigel of Bloomberg Politics reports Landrieu warned a crowd near Baton Rouge about the perils of Cantwell becoming ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee.

Here’s what Landrieu said, according to Weigel:

“If I don’t get back there as a senior member of the committee, we’re gonna have a woman who I like very much, [but] I’m not sure Louisiana’s going to think very much of a senator from Washington state who’s all for windmills and alternative energy, and doesn’t support the oil and gas industry! That’s who’s gonna take my place as head of this committee.”

Weigel noted the Landrieu comments came minutes before Cantwell’s fundraising appeal went out.

Landrieu chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where she has clashed with fellow Democrats, including Cantwell, on fossil fuel issues, including whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

Other Landrieu allies from coal and oil producing states have played the Cantwell card before in the Louisiana Senate contest. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said in October that energy-producing states would be left “absolutely dead” if Cantwell replaced Landrieu as head of the energy panel.

Of course, it is Republicans who will lead the energy committee in the new year, as Democrats lost their Senate majority in the November election. Polls show Landrieu trailing by double digits to her Republican challenger, Bill Cassidy, ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff.

Cantwell has been raising money for Landrieu and other Senate Democratic candidates all year. In October, Landrieu was among the advertised beneficiaries of Cantwell’s “Women of Valor” fundraising lunch in Seattle, headlined by Vice President Joe Biden.

A Cantwell spokesman had no comment on Landrieu’s speech Wednesday. Landrieu’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, Congressional races, U.S. Senate | Topics: U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu

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