Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.

Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.

Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?

With her political future in jeopardy, Sen. Mary Landrieu is turning to a natural constituent base in her re-election bid.

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