Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuA decade of making a difference: Senate Caucus on Foster Youth Congress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Dems wrestle over how to vote on ‘Green New Deal’ MORE (D-La.) hit the ground running in the early hours of her runoff battle with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), shifting towards a forward-looking message focused on Louisiana rather than her clout in Washington.

Public polls and private predictions from both parties give Cassidy the edge in the monthlong battle.


But Landrieu made clear Tuesday night she won’t go down without a fight. She launched a stand-alone website attacking Cassidy as absent on a series of key issues and announced a Wednesday morning event at the site of the state’s new Veterans Affairs hospital to highlight Cassidy’s “votes to hurt Louisiana veterans,” just hours after the returns confirmed she was in for a runoff.

The quick offense belies her unbending contention, throughout the entire campaign, that she would win on Election Day and wouldn’t even entertain the thought of a runoff.

National Democrats conceded the possibility of a runoff in mid-October, when they reserved airtime in the state after the November election. Landrieu, however, insisted she still had a shot on Election Day during public appearances as late as last week.

But her campaign was planning as early as Oct. 18 for the possibility of a runoff, as they registered the attack site — — that day.

And on election night, Landrieu told supporters at her victory party that “we have the race that we have wanted for months,” noting that Cassidy has been able to run under the radar and avoid confrontation for most of the race so far. She said he can no longer rely simply on tying her to President Obama to win.

"This race is not about who the president is or was or will be, or about which party controls Congress," Landrieu said. "This race is about the future, the bright and strong future that Louisiana deserves."

Even having planned ahead, however, Landrieu faces a daunting challenge in holding on to her seat. Her main general election argument — that her clout in the Senate as Energy Committee chairwoman was indispensablw for Louisianans — was rendered largely moot when Republicans won back the Senate Tuesday night.

That likely informed her shift towards a message about “the future that Louisiana deserves.”

And Republican outside groups have already reserved millions in airtime against her, with more coming. Freedom Partners Action Fund, a group affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, announced Tuesday night plans to spend $2.1 million against the senator.

Cassidy, meanwhile, stuck to his guns, asking supporters during his own election-night speech: "Do you want a senator that represents Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaRahm Emanuel: Sanders is 'stoppable' 5 takeaways from the Nevada caucuses Ex-CIA chief calls Trump intel shakeup a 'virtual decapitation' of the intelligence community MORE? Or a senator that represents you?"