CORAL DAVENPORT and ASHLEY PARKER --- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats narrowly defeated a bill 59 to 41 that would have approved the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rebuffing their Democratic colleague, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, who had hoped to muscle the legislation through in advance of her uphill runoff election fight back home.
The battle over approving the pipeline, which will carry petroleum from theoil sands of Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, ultimately became a proxy war for the Louisiana Senate seat, where Ms. Landrieu and Republican Representative Bill Cassidy are locked in fight for votes in their oil-rich state ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff election.
Ms. Landrieu — who, if re-elected, will lose her coveted position as chairwoman of the energy committee when Republicans take the Senate majority next year — spent the past few days working furiously to round up Democratic support for her bill, which she had hoped would be her last, best chance of holding on to her Senate seat.
On Tuesday morning, she was at least one vote short of the filibuster-proof 60 votes she needed. And despite cajoling, persuading, browbeating, and making an impassioned plea to her colleagues during a closed-door lunch — which one attendee described as “civilized but pretty contentious” — Ms. Landrieu, who has so often bulldozed her way to success through sheer force of will, came up just short.