Second Republican enters race for Mary Landrieu's seat

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Rob Maness, a retired Air Force Colonel and farmer, announced his bid for Senate earlier this week. He'll join Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in running against Landrieu.

Maness already has the interest of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that backs conservative primary challengers in Senate races.

"We still need to vet Col. Maness to see if he's someone SCF can support, but we're excited about his potential. It's encouraging to see people run for office who aren't career politicians and who aren't part to the political establishment," read an email from Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins.

The email blasted to supporters had more to say about Cassidy's record, which the conservative fund believes is too liberal, than it did about Maness, but the group said it will give his candidacy a serious look.

"Republicans in Louisiana deserve the chance to elect someone who truly shares their values and who can offer voters a real choice over Senator Landrieu. It's too soon to know for sure, but Col. Maness could be that candidate. We've seen people like him get traction before," Hoskins said in the email.

Cassidy, however, has already established a strong fundraising lead, bringing in more than $500,000 in the first quarter of the year, and he's got solid establishment support. The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that all the Republicans in Louisiana's delegation will attend a fundraiser for Cassidy held at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters in June.

Landrieu is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats in the 2014 cycle, but some Republicans have expressed concern that multiple Republicans running could split the party's vote and hurt their chances against the incumbent.

Louisiana has a "jungle primary" system, where every candidate, Democrat and Republican, is listed on the first ballot. If a candidate fails to take 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters go on to a runoff election.

But Maness told the Daily Caller he's not worried about that possibility.

“Competition is good. The voters deserve the best we can offer,” he said.

“We don’t believe that Rep. Cassidy will take away enough votes from us for it to be a concern.”

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