Paul Hollis Wants You To Know He’s Running For Senate…

…and Roy Fletcher, his political consultant, wants you to know Hollis’ check didn’t bounce.

We can say that because we watched Hollis’ campaign announcement video when it made its debut yesterday…

The announcement isn’t all Hollis and Fletcher came up with. There was also this…

“I choose Louisiana” sounds nice, but it doesn’t exactly hit the mark as a slogan for a guy who’s currently a state representative and who wants you to send him up to Washington.

And there was this…

Which is the exact same ad, just cut differently.

One assumes Fletcher billed Hollis for the production on both of these, and maybe charged him for two ads. Most political consultants will tell you they absolutely love self-funders precisely because they can get away with doing stuff like that when they’re working for Candidate Moneybags.

Hollis’ problem is that he doesn’t bring a lot to the table in this race. He’s too late in getting in, for one thing – when Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness have both been in this race for more than six months and have spent all that time building an organization, speaking to local groups, raising money, courting national PAC dollars and staking out positions they’ve already been able to at least partially define themselves. That means Hollis is going to have a difficult time defining his Republican opposition.

He’s also going to have trouble defining himself. What is it that Hollis brings to the table in this race? Is he going to run to Cassidy’s right? OK – then what does Hollis offer that Rob Maness doesn’t? Does anybody in the Tea Party movement in Louisiana even know who Hollis is? Is running to Cassidy’s right, which means Hollis is going to directly impinge on Maness’ electability the more traction he gets, going to give the state representative an easy road to election?

Hardly. The folks in Maness’ camp will see the newcomer as a threat to their guy’s electability and they’re going to unload on him – because they have to.

And if Hollis doesn’t run to Cassidy’s right, then what? “Hi, I’m Paul Hollis. I’m like Bill Cassidy, but younger, less accomplished and less well-funded. You ought to vote for me…because it’s a nice thing to do.”

As value propositions go, that one doesn’t exactly set records.

Hollis’ legislative career so far doesn’t really set him up to run as the RINO in the race. It doesn’t really set him up to run as the Tea Party guy, either – he’s been a relatively mainstream conservative vote in the state House, other than his dog-paddling in the Fiscal Hawk pool last year. He did just enough of that to make it implausible that Hollis is the Bobby Jindal faction’s candidate in this race and he’s certainly not the David Vitter faction’s candidate, either.

Does he have geography on his side? Not especially. Hollis knows more people in St. Tammany Parish, where he’s from, than Maness does – he’s lived there a little longer and he’s a state legislator from Mandeville. But this is a guy who got elected in 2011 running against a 26-year old first-time candidate who’d barely had a real job out of college before aiming at elected office, and yet Hollis’ margin over Christopher Trahan was all of 3,905 votes to 3,096.

This after spending well over $200,000 on that race. On a state House race, mind you. Against a 26-year old opponent who spent about $40,000 on the race.

In other words, folks in St. Tammany are used to Hollis spending money on getting their votes. It’s less established that they’re used to actually voting for him.

Outside of St. Tammany? Nobody knows who this guy is. People in Jefferson Parish knew his father Ken Hollis, who was a name in Republican politics around the state 20 years ago, but that’s about it.

This isn’t too poo-pooh Hollis as a Senate candidate. If he has something to contribute to the race, by all means let’s see him do it. We won’t prejudge this thing.

But what we’d like to know is why Louisiana needs this candidate in this race at this time.

If this was a Republican primary rather than a jungle primary, it wouldn’t be necessary to ask the question – a party primary makes for a pretty good Thunderdome in which to vet political candidates. But if Hollis thinks that getting into this race and spending a few hundred thousand of his own dollars to pump up his name recognition so he can run for something like state treasurer or insurance commissioner next year is a good idea, the answer is “no, it isn’t.” Everybody is going to remember him as the guy who wasted his own money in a vanity project, and that will make them see him as an even more careless steward of their tax dollars.

It’s one thing to do the Donald Trump political thing if you’re Donald Trump. People see a certain charm in that, and even though the electoral results usually stink there are some fringe benefits to it like TV ratings for a reality show. The problem is that John Georges has already tried the Donald Trump thing in Louisiana and failed miserably at it…repeatedly.

Another problem is that Paul Hollis, who is a rare coin dealer by trade, is not Donald Trump. He’s also not John Georges.

And even after watching his announcement video and his two iterations of the same campaign ad, we have no idea what he brings to the table as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

What we do know is that Fletcher has a client, and a paying one at that. And that’s why Fletcher is Hollis’ biggest fan so far.

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