Cassidy nabs backing of former conservative rival in La. Senate race

Greg Nash

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) picked up the backing of a former conservative challenger in his bid to replace Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) on Monday.

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State Rep. Paul Hollis, who dropped his own Senate bid last week, told Cassidy’s supporters in an email that he’s backing the congressman because “we need bold conservative leadership in the U.S. Senate to stop the insanity in Washington.”

“Dr. Cassidy believes as I do that America's greatness is a product of its people and not a gift from the federal government,” wrote Hollis. “He's running for the U.S. Senate because he wants to return power and opportunity to the American people.”

The endorsement is a blow to retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who has positioned himself as the conservative alternative to Cassidy in the race.

In Louisiana’s jungle primary system, all candidates regardless of party, are on the November ballot, and if no candidate tops 50 percent of the vote the top two vote-getters head to a runoff.

Polling has shown Landrieu hurt by President Obama’s unpopularity in the state, and a runoff is likely, with Cassidy leading the Republican pack.

Maness has, however, picked up endorsements from a number of prominent national conservative groups and figures, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

Hollis’s departure from the race could be a boon to Maness, if he is able to coalesce anti-Cassidy voters behind him. But Cassidy has shown notable conservative support himself, including the endorsement of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), and now Hollis’s own backing.

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