- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Though Republican John Kennedy leads in polls for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race, he lags his Democratic competitor, Foster Campbell, in fundraising ahead of the Dec. 10 runoff election.

Kennedy, the state treasurer, raised nearly $1 million less than Campbell, a member of the Public Service Commission, in his latest campaign finance report posted Friday.

Kennedy took in just under $1.6 million from donors from Oct. 20 through Nov. 20, compared to $2.5 million for Campbell. The men were about even in cash on hand, though, with the treasurer reporting $1.3 million and Campbell $1.4 million.

“He’ll outspend me, but I’ll outwork him,” Kennedy said.

Before the latest fundraising period, Campbell had raised only $984,000 from donors after nearly a year of campaigning, while Kennedy had brought in nearly three times that amount.

Campbell’s donations for the runoff have spiked from Democrats around the country who see the competition for the nation’s last undecided Senate seat as a way to register their criticism of Republican President-elect Donald Trump’s victory.

“He’s raised an extraordinary amount of money,” Kennedy said of his competitor. “You’ve got a lot of the liberal Hollywood left tweeting to the other Hollywood liberals and sending him checks.”

The fundraising lag hasn’t appeared to dent Kennedy’s front-runner status, however. A recent poll from Baton Rouge-based Southern Media and Opinion Research showed Kennedy with a 14-point lead.

The treasurer also hopes to get a boost this weekend when Vice President-elect Mike Pence travels to New Orleans for a rally and fundraiser for Kennedy’s campaign.

Campbell announced his fundraising totals and released his report Tuesday, touting its contents. Kennedy didn’t unveil his report publicly, instead waiting until it was posted online Friday by the Federal Election Commission. Campbell suggested his opponent was hiding the information because the report showed Kennedy brought in much less than his Democratic challenger. Kennedy said he didn’t unveil the report before it was posted because the spending can disclose campaign strategy.

Campbell’s campaign contrasted the two reports in the types of donations received, saying the public service commissioner had received donations averaging less than $45 from more than 50,000 contributors while Kennedy raised less than $13,000 from small-dollar donors giving less than $100. Campbell said Kennedy’s been relying on contributions from the wealthy.

“John Kennedy has already joined the D.C. insider’s club. But I’m fighting for the people, and together we will be revoking his membership card,” Campbell said in a statement.

The Senate seat is open because Republican David Vitter decided against seeking re-election. Campbell and Kennedy were the top two vote-getters among 24 people on the ballot in the November primary.


Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at https://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

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