Mary Landrieu re-election campaign recruits staunch GOP leader - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Landrieu re-election campaign recruits staunch GOP leader to star in TV ad

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

A big behind-the-scenes power-player for the Republican Party came out in favor of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in a very public way.

Landrieu's re-election campaign steered across party lines to find the star of her latest 30-second TV advertisement.

"Even though I'm a Republican, and don't always agree with her, Louisiana can't afford to lose Mary Landrieu," said Donald "Boysie" Bollinger, CEO of Bollinger Shipyards and well-known GOP leader, in Landrieu's ad.

"This is someone who is a leader in terms of the economic development environment," said Xavier Political Analyst Silas Lee. "He is a major ship builder, probably one of the more prominent shipbuilders in terms of building ships and receiving federal contracts on the national level."

At a press conference on April 9, 2010, Bollinger said his shipyards have kept Louisianans employed with the help of government contracts since 1984.

He announced the Coast Guard's commitment to build its cutters at Bollinger in Lockport with Landrieu by his side.

Lee said in her new advertisement, Landrieu highlights that relationship, and her crossover support from Republicans, which is how, he says, she has maintained her seat in a state that often votes Republican.

"She is a survivor because she is a moderate, she can build those coalitions, and that is what she is exemplifying with that ad," said Lee.

A New York Times analysis pointed out a more pressing concern for Landrieu this time around. It says between 2002 and 2008, white voters abandoned her in significant numbers, and she won re-election partly by the huge African-American turnout for Barack Obama.

The Times said Landrieu desperately needs to hang onto her remaining white support if she hopes to defy the trend of Southern states turning Republican.

To do that, Landrieu's ad highlighted her national influence in terms of local jobs.

Bollinger states in the ad, "Landrieu holds the most powerful position a person can have for Louisiana" as the chairman of the Energy Committee.

"It means more boats, more jobs and more oil and gas," said Bollinger in the ad.

According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere said he's disappointed that Bollinger, as a former Louisiana GOP leader, would make an ad sending a message that it's okay for Republicans to back Landrieu.

Landrieu's challengers for the November election are Bill Cassidy, Paul Hollis, Robert Maness, Brannon McMorris and Thomas Patrick Clements.

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