It’s not surprising that Republican state Rep. Paul Hollis announced his exit from the U.S. Senate race this fall, because it never made much sense for him to enter it in the first place if he thought he could win.
That’s not because Hollis is not a conservative, with a three-year average score on the Louisiana Legislature Log voting index of just under 75 (well above the chamber and a bit above the GOP legislative averages, where 100 shows always voting for the conservative/reform preference). That’s not because Hollis has not demonstrated that he can win elections and has experience in a significant elective office, as he got himself elected to his position in 2011. It is that he got in the contest later than the two other Republican candidates who carved out space in both of these areas.
Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy has proven conservative credentials and almost six years’ experience in national government, including putting into law a significant item or two (for example, being one of the main forces behind getting markedly higher flood insurance rates for some homeowners delayed and lowered). But if somebody doesn’t like that Cassidy didn’t vote the conservative issue preference every single time and/or that he’s been in Congress all that time, then for you there’s absolutely politically inexperienced Republican Rob Maness who claims he can vote more conservatively than Cassidy.
Both entered the race well before Hollis and showed they could raise enough money not to be an afterthought – Cassidy from a large number of donors and interest groups, Maness from a few of each but enough not to be insignificant. With these constituencies largely already spoken for and willing to put money where their mouths were, this didn’t leave a whole lot of room for Hollis to gain traction, as witnessed by his inability to raise more than middle five digits in dollars from people not sharing the same name as him.
So all along his entry seemed like a longshot, and even, as previously noted, if it were to raise his profile for some future office that did not seem like the most efficient strategy to accomplish this. Yet should he continue to vote reliably conservatively in the state House, having a seat that seems pretty safe, years down the road he may find an opportunity for advancement to higher office and has the makings of a quality candidate.
As for the larger contest itself, his exit does next to nothing to change its dynamics. Few if any of his presumed voters will sit it out in November because he’s not on the ballot, and of that small proportion of the electorate (as judged by recent polls), those who went for him because he was a conservative without Washington experience will go for Maness, while those who want a conservative with credible experience and ability to win will go for Cassidy, with the only Democrat in the race, Sen. Mary Landrieu, getting next to none of this action. It does nothing to change Cassidy being the favorite, closely trailed by Landrieu, and Maness way out of contention.
Thus, about the only substantive impact of this exit will be to save Hollis some moola at the expense of some political consultants and media outlets.