Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu was scrambling to find one more senator in the run-up to a critical vote on the Keystone XL pipeline, but she’s failed. The still Democratic-controlled Senate voted down approval of the Keystone XL pipeline Tuesday night, further dooming her already scant political future.
Landrieu was forced into a Dec. 6 runoff against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, who PPD’s election projection model strongly favors to win, and she quickly moved to resurrect the House Keystone pipeline bill in a last-minute attempt to tout her her Washington clout. She ran a campaign that touted the benefits Louisiana voters would enjoy with her controlling the Senate Energy Committee, the best she can hope for now is holding the title of ranking Democrat.
Now, however, Cassidy, meanwhile is boasting a formal commitment from soon-to-be Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to give him a seat on the Energy Committee if he wins, which he now has an 89 percent of doing according to PPD’s model. Even though Landrieu slightly edged out Cassidy 42 – 41 percent, which was a difference of just over 16,000 votes, tea party candidate Rob Maness, who finished with 14 percent, has thrown his full support behind Cassidy now and is actively campaigning for him in more conservative precincts.
But digging a little deeper, she never had the voter support to win. Landrieu polled at just 20 percent of the white vote in PPD’s tracking survey and, according to exit polls, she only won 18 percent on Election Day. She would need 30 percent — at least — to overcome the 19 percent of white voters who backed Maness voting for Cassidy.
A source at the DSCC told PPD several weeks ago they would be pulling their money out of the Louisiana Senate race and bailing on Landrieu, and it now appears her members did, as well. fAt last count, 59 senators publicly voiced support for the bill, which was one short of the 60 needed to secure passage and send the legislation, for the first time, to President Obama’s desk. The vote failed 59 – 41.
Had the bill passed, it would have put enormous pressure on President Obama to sign the bill, which enjoys overwhelming support from the American people. House Speaker John Boehner, who already pushed the bill through the House, had some harsh words for the president ahead of the vote.
“A Keystone pipeline veto would send the signal that this president has no interest in listening to the American people,” Boehner said.”It would be the equivalent of calling the American people stupid.”
The proposed crude-oil pipeline, which would run 1,179 miles from the Canadian tar sands to Gulf coast refineries, has been the subject of a fierce struggle between environmentalists and energy advocates ever since Calgary-based TransCanada proposed it in 2008. The State Department has released multiple studies that not only found the project to be more environmentally friendly than if the pipeline wasn’t built.
The State Department said Canadian tar sands are likely to be developed regardless of whether or not the U.S. will be the benefactor of the pipeline, noting other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. Without the pipeline, the product may get to refineries by other means, including railroads, trucks and barges, which they claim would be even worse for climate change.
The president, despite the review from his own State Department, refused to approve the project. The president downplayed the economic benefit of approving the Keystone XL pipeline after caving to radical environmentalists, when he delayed the construction indefinitely. But a recent study found that a 485-mile stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a huge economic boon for some two dozen poor Oklahoma and Texas counties, leading many economists to conclude the construction will pay greater-than-expected economic dividends.
Tom Steyer, a leftist California business man, promised that he would give $50 million of his own money and bundle $50 million more, which was used by many Democratic campaigns who promised to remain anti-Keystone XL. Dozens of Democratic senators are beholden to Mr. Steyer after taking said money, which is largely why the vote went down.