Christian leader open to Senate run

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has some harsh criticism for Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the GOP establishment’s chosen candidate to take on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) this year.

But he also left the door open to jumping into the race himself — or running for Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) seat, if Vitter wins his gubernatorial bid in 2015.

ADVERTISEMENT
Speaking to The Hill during Wednesday’s March for Life anti-abortion rally on the National Mall, Perkins said Cassidy can’t win against Landrieu because he’s not a staunch enough conservative.

“I think his problem is his record. He’s been pretty weak on the issues. If the Republicans want to win, they actually need to find a stronger candidate,” he said.

Cassidy is facing two other Republicans in the race, state Rep. Paul Hollis and Air Force veteran Rob Maness, both of whom are jockeying for a position as the conservative alternative to the congressman.

But asked whether a stronger candidate had emerged in the race, Perkins said “not that has come to the forefront yet.” And pressed on whether that candidate could be him, Perkins said only “not at this time.”

“I would rather somebody else do it,” he added.

Candidates have until late August to file for the seat, but any candidate entering this late in the game may have trouble fundraising in the state, as sources say Cassidy has been able to lock down much of the campaign contributions to be had for his bid.

Though he’s not currently looking at jumping into the race against Landrieu, he said he wouldn’t rule anything out, including a run for Vitter’s seat or for the open 6th district seat Cassidy vacated to run for Senate, which he has previously expressed interest in.

“I never say never anymore,” he told The Hill.

He added that while “today, and for the foreseeable future, I’m at [the Family Research Council],” supporters had been urging him to run for office in the state. Perkins said none of the races looked most appealing to him at this point.

“Louisiana’s my home. Obviously, I listen to people. I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls and encouragement to look at these current races, but right now I’m at FRC,” he said.