How Mary Landrieu Is Defying Expectations

Landrieu's always got a competitive election and she hasn't lost yet.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., speaks to witnesses during a hearing on Hurricane Sandy on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., leads the polls over all three of her Republican competitors, according to a conservative-commissioned poll released Monday.

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Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council who once served in the Louisiana Legislature, told The Hill newspaper in January that Cassidy was not up to snuff. 

"He's been pretty weak on the issues," Perkins had said. "If the Republicans want to win, they actually need to find a stronger candidate."

The deep-pocketed, anti-establishment Club for Growth is even watching the race. 

[MORE: Going Out on Top? Retiring Republicans Say Goodbye to Gridlock]

This turmoil also bodes well for Landrieu. The longer the Republicans remain in a disarray, the more likely it could be anyone’s race in the “jungle primary,” when all candidates – Republican and Democrat – compete on one ballot. With multiple Republicans but only one Democrat on the ballot, it almost guarantees that no GOP-er will get the 50 percent of the vote needed to win the race straight up, per the state's quirky election rules. Landrieu would face off with the top Republican vote-getter in a December runoff if she failed to meet the 50 percent threshold. 

“There is considerable pressure for Republicans to unite behind Congressman Cassidy in order to maximize our chances of defeating Sen. Landrieu,” says Jason Dore, the Louisiana Republican Party’s executive director. 

Yet, the Republican Party has tried and failed three times to unseat Landrieu throughout her career. 

“Every time Landrieu runs for re-election, she is always seen as vulnerable. She is always about to have the toughest race she has ever had; and she always wins,” Mann says.