Attorney General Jeff Landry Builds Powerful Fundraising Structure Ahead of Governor's Race
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has been moving key allies into important finance-related positions at the Louisiana Republican Party, following his endorsement by the party last fall. As a result, Landry can now encourage supporters to give an additional $100,000 to the party to support this year’s ballot. The party has raised $721,000 since Landry’s endorsement, and most of that money was transferred into a subsidiary checking account referred to as the Victory Account. As of last week, the Victory Account had $525,000, and it’s growing by the day. The account will be dedicated solely to electing Landry as governor. Conservative donors, particularly pro-Landry ones, seem to love the idea. Businessman Lane Grigsby, for example, kicked in $25,000 last month and Ross Laris of Raceland ponied up $100,000.
Many politicos believed that the GOP endorsement would translate into a fundraising increase for the party, but the reality of the endorsement is that Team Landry gained a new and powerful finance account that can 100% coordinate with his campaign. This new arm of Landry’s fundraising apparatus is in addition to a personal campaign finance account that’s holding $5 million and a leadership PAC with $1.5 million ready to spend.
If Landry finds himself in a corner, the party endorsement could pay dividends well beyond the Victory Account. Because of the early endorsement, the party was able to send a “Rule 11” letter to the Republican National Committee, a letter typically transmitted in the fall during gubernatorial election years. The letter allows groups like the RNC and RGA to begin spending immediately on behalf of the endorsed candidate. The RNC is now also allowed to transfer unlimited amounts to Louisiana’s GOP.
Unable to coordinate with the Landry campaign is Louisiana Citizens for Job Creators, a supportive super PAC that has about $300,000 in the bank and a history of raising a heck of a lot more. You can expect the super PAC to be heavy on the media side this year, with Ben Yoho of the Strategy Group Company hired to produce television spots in the coming months.
Aside from contributing to what will be a record-breaking year for spending on a governor’s race, Landry is also introducing a new fundraising structure. He’s among the first gubernatorial candidates to successfully deploy a joint fundraising committee, or JFC, called the Louisiana First Fund.
The Louisiana First Fund is essentially an umbrella organization for Landry’s personal campaign finance account and Cajun PAC II, his leadership account. Donors who would normally cut two checks to the two organizations can instead cut one large check to the Louisiana First Fund, which then distributes the money to the two accounts using a formula that’s published here.
Between all of the accounts mentioned above, there’s $7.3 million available to spend on or in support of Landry’s gubernatorial bid. It’s doubtful any of the major candidates for governor will be able to match that sum any time soon.
While money certainly helps, the fundraising leader doesn’t always gain the favor of the people. However, having a strong fundraising structure in place can give a candidate a significant advantage in terms of getting their message out to the public and building a campaign that can withstand any challenges that may arise. Landry’s successful deployment of a joint fundraising committee, and his ability to move key allies into important finance-related positions at the Louisiana Republican Party, has put him in a strong position to potentially win the upcoming governor’s race.