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Louisiana's Senate candidates make final campaign push

After weeks of buildup, the time has come for Louisiana voters to cast their ballots.

On the eve of Election Day, the three major candidates for U.S. Senate made a final push to get their messages across to voters. Tea Party Republican Col. Rob Maness (Ret.) met with voters in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. Fellow Republican challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy went door-to-door in the Baton Rouge neighborhood where he grew up. Democratic Incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu was also in the capitol city, joining supporters at a rally.

Tulane political analyst Mike Sherman says this race has deviated from Louisiana's norm.

"We're a state where charisma is really part and parcel of all of our elections. But what we're seeing in this election is national politics becoming a very major part of the discussion. Senator Landrieu is running on her credentials and what she's done in office. Her opponents are trying to bring up larger themes in America, bringing in the President of the United States and his popularity," he said.

Sherman believes it all adds up to a high-interest race.

"Not only is the state of Louisiana watching, but the entire United States of America is watching what happens in Louisiana," he said.

Voter turnout will be critical, according to analysts. Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler predicts that 45-50 percent of voters across the state will cast ballots.

Political analyst Silas Lee says he'll be keeping a close eye on activity in various regions.

"Early voting has been very strong. In fact, it was stronger than 2012. However, early voting is not a predictor of actual turnout on Election Day," Lee said. "So, we have to wait and see, unfortunately, as to how the turnout and what the differential will be in certain parts of the state and, naturally, by race. Those are going to be critical factors.

Polls show a tight race, and Lee says whether or not there is a runoff could make a big impact on whether Landrieu can hold onto the seat.

"(Landrieu) would like to win in the primary (Tuesday), and that's what she was able to do in the past,” he said. “However, if there is a runoff, it would be a very competitive race, and usually for an incumbent, that means more money and they would have to rewrite the playbook to some degree, in terms of how they will attack the ground game and enhance voter turnout."

According to some polls, a runoff is predicted.

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