New Orleans plays a significant role in Louisiana politics. The question for Democratic incumbent Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuCassidy wins reelection in Louisiana Bottom line A decade of making a difference: Senate Caucus on Foster Youth MORE (La.) is – will it play a big enough role for her on Nov. 4?

Landrieu is New Orleans through and through. Her brother is the current mayor and her father is the former mayor. She will no doubt have the support of the city in the midterm elections. As the largest city in Louisiana, New Orleans carries with it some serious clout. Beyond her appeal in the city however, Landrieu is struggling to gain support statewide.


It is always difficult for candidates running alongside the president’s party in midterm elections. Louisiana voters also appear to want a candidate to take a tougher stance on jobs, immigration and energy. While neither of the frontrunners is garnering overwhelming support in any of these areas, Landrieu hurts her chances by not standing out.

Current polling has Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy leading Landrieu.

Recent CNN and Rasmussen polls have Cassidy by three points and polling aggregation site FiveThirtyEight sees the Republican with a four-point advantage. While neither has the clear majority yet needed to carry the election in November, Landrieu is lagging too far behind.

In New Orleans, Landrieu needs all supporters to get out and vote on the fourth. Winning will require her to maximize any and all clear-cut supportive areas in the state and New Orleans looks to be her best chance. She must mobilize her voters as this midterm election is gearing up to be closer than her run in 2008.

Outside of New Orleans, Cassidy is gaining ground.

Cassidy also has something going for him that Landrieu does not. In the event of a December runoff election, the Republican congressman will likely take the advantage by winning over supporters of the second Republican candidate, Rob Maness. Despite his current lead in the polls, Cassidy is losing around 9 percent of the vote to Maness. Come December though, that will not matter.

In the Louisiana election system, if no single candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates compete in a runoff election.

In the event of a December runoff, Maness will be the odd-man out.

The retired air-force colonel is drawing support away from Cassidy through the backing of high-profile conservatives like Sarah Palin. He is making a name for himself and although his presence puts a dent in Cassidy’s campaign, it hurts Landrieu much more. Polls show that when the race comes down to just two candidates, Cassidy is the frontrunner.

Landrieu is tough though. She managed to win re-election for her third-term in 2008. That same year, President Obama lost the state in a lopsided defeat. Landrieu has great appeal throughout Louisiana and there is a reason she has been in the senate seat for three terms. This midterm election will be the toughest that she has faced yet.

As all polls point toward a slight Republican advantage on both Nov. 4 and in the potential December runoff, Landrieu is looking for an edge. New Orleans may vote for her, but Landrieu will need to find that edge elsewhere in the state if she intends to retain the seat.

Floyd is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's Master of Public Administration program and the author of PANIC: One Man’s Struggle with Anxiety.