Cassidy’s Officially In

The actual announcement might come as early as tomorrow, but the mainstream media types are already jumping on the bandwagon to report it…

Baton Rouge Congressman Bill Cassidy will announce tomorrow that he is running against Senator Mary Landrieu in 2014.

In a video that will be released tomorrow, Cassidy describes Landrieu as politically too close to President Barack Obama, according to the Associated Press.  The president is relatively unpopular in Louisiana.

Cassidy may or may not be alone in the race, as we’ve discussed before. Last night, Rep. John Fleming spoke to a small group of conservative activists in Baton Rouge, with a general sense in that crowd that someone a bit more conservative than Cassidy was required in order to beat the incumbent. That’s the sense Fleming received from a poll he commissioned last month, and the poll offered him some reason for confidence that he can sell himself as the conservative alternative to Cassidy.

Interestingly enough, there’s a bill at the Legislature which would put Cassidy and Fleming in a party primary, rather than the current jungle primary contest which scares so many GOP insiders about having multiple challengers to Landrieu. HB 649, by Rep. Barry Ivey (R-Central), would have party primaries for federal races in early October with the winners of pluralities in those primaries going on to the general election in November.

The installment of jungle primaries for federal races was put in place thanks to a bill by Rep. Hunter Greene (R-Baton Rouge) in 2010, and it’s already proving to be a scary system. Fears that a Cassidy-Fleming primary donnybrook might allow Landrieu to skate by and get to 50 percent in the primary and thus prevent a runoff are fairly widespread, and it’s extremely likely lots of third-party spending will result in an effort to knock Landrieu down under 50. That means oodles of attack ads on your TV next fall. You’d likely avoid those until the primary was over in the case of a party primary; you’d have less spending because saving money in preparation for a run against Mary in the general election would be crucial to victory.

Be that as it may, it’s quite possible Fleming won’t make the race. At last night’s meeting he noted the difficulty he’d face in jumping in; namely, from the standpoint of fundraising. In the next two weeks, the quarterly FEC numbers will come out and we’ll get a good indication of where the prospective candidates stand money-wise. Landrieu will likely have something north of $3 million, but after Cassidy’s monster haul of over $500,000 in the first quarter he has a good chance of being close to Mary’s war chest. Fleming will be at a deep disadvantage.

In any event, tomorrow we expect to see Cassidy’s video indictment of Landrieu’s tenure, which will assuredly include a recitation of her litany of terrible recent votes. She’s very beatable; despite a minimum 2-to-1 financial advantage on each of her three previous Republican challengers she’s never polled better than 52 percent, and this state is far less Democrat-friendly than it was in 2008 when she beat John Kennedy. Cassidy, if in fact he ends up in the general election (or runoff, if the current jungle primary system holds), should be far more competitive in his ability to throw money into the race.

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