Monday, 17 February 2020 09:30

La. Dem Party vs. Cassidy for US Senate; What a difference, 6 years make Featured

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What a profound difference makes six years!

Back in February 2014, Louisiana was embroiled in a hotly-contested free-for-all for the U.S. Senate position. Retired, and unknown Air Force Colonel Rob Maness had just announced his candidacy to oust Senator Mary Landrieu, the powerful senior Democrat US Senator. Landrieu, generally had been hailed as the hero from the Hurricane Katrina wars fighting the emotional unending battles to save South Louisiana and New Orleans.  However, Landrieu faced one major obstacle--President Barack Obama who down in these parts was less popular than the BP Oil Spill (if that were possible). 


We all knew she was vulnerable in early 2014, Landrieu was very vulnerable. In great part due to the southern states' opposition to Obama and because of some changing demography, Louisiana was turning red after decades of blue-dog dependency.  Landrieu, in a seemingly impossible position, decided to support Obamacare and in exchange, was tagged with the moniker, “The Louisiana Purchase”.

Also seeking her Senate seat was Bill Cassidy, a medical doctor, a former Democrat, turned Republican, who was the clear favorite of the Louisiana Republican Party. Cassidy had graduated from the Louisiana House to Congressman.  His early poll numbers indicated he had a very good shot of replacing the woman whose last name was synonymous with Louisiana politics,  Washington DC influence and  Democratic Party causes. Maness, who announced at the end of January was hitting the Tea Party circuits and getting traction.

We all know the results of that election. Cassidy and Maness tag-teamed Landrieu and repeated at every opportunity the word “Obama”.  Cassidy and Landrieu moved on to a runoff. For his efforts, Maness, fared well, gathering plenty of statewide face-time and name recognition, as well as scoring in mid-single digits.

Today, Cassidy formally declared that he is running for re-election for US Senator.

While Louisiana has been surprised before such as watching a relatively unknown Democrat State Representative John Bel Edwards soundly defeat Republican Senator David Vitter, this type of shocker probably won’t be repeated again in these parts for quite a while. Vitter was scarred with a personal scandal. Edwards was a West Point graduate, pro-life and most importantly, the election was not for Vitter’s own US Senate seat, but for governor, a seat being vacated by Bobby Jindal. Jindal, despite his own very low poll numbers, was toying with the  US Presidency and was in a public feud with fellow Republican, Vitter.

This afternoon, the only opposition Cassidy faces is an unknown political commodity and a Democratic place-marker, the Louisiana Democratic Party.

According to USA Today, Antoine Pierce, with no statewide name-recognition, a Baton Rouge Democrat and community organizer has stated he intended to run for that office.

However, the Louisiana Democrats were able to muster up some opposition. The party opposes Cassidy, period but is silent about any candidate of its own choice.

The Democrats did launch an e-missive at Cassidy (which is below).  However, Cassidy, whose "favorables" have generally ranged in the high forties to the low fifties, obviously, has plenty of money in the bank. He almost certainly will have the full support of the state party and appears to be cruising to a fall victory. This year’s scrimmage looks like nothing compared to the  2014 open warfare when the state and national parties participated in the daily carnage of election mass-assaults.

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Here is the Email from the Louisiana State Democratic Party:

Over six years ago, Bill Cassidy promised to improve Louisiana’s health care. He spent the next six years doing the opposite.

Since he was elected, Bill Cassidy has supported an all-out attack on the health care of millions and protections for pre-existing conditions.

“Bill Cassidy has broken every promise he made to everyday Louisianans,” Stephen Handwerk, Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director said. “Six years ago, Cassidy campaigned on improving health care. Six years later, he’s making the same promises with nothing to show. Instead, he’s playing politics with the lives of millions on the line. He’s spent his time in Congress supporting an all-out attack to rip health care away from millions of Americans and end pre-existing conditions protections. He’s shown that we can’t trust him with our health care. We’re looking forward to electing a senator this fall who will keep their promises to Louisiana families.”

At every turn, Cassidy has tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act. First, through a replacement bill, Graham-Cassidy, that would cause 21 million Americans to lose coverage. When protections for pre-existing conditions were on the chopping block, he proposed the Better Care Reconciliation Act. This amendment would have allowed insurance companies to charge higher premiums to those with pre-existing conditions. 

When those bills failed, he turned to supporting the president’s lawsuit to overturn the ACA and end pre-existing condition protections. If successful, this repeal would cut Medicaid expansion in Louisiana and leave 494,000 Louisianians without health coverage. 1.9 million Louisianians would lose protections for pre-existing conditions.

Cassidy now supports the president’s budget, including trillions in cuts to social safety net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

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Cassidy promised to lower prescription drug costs. He hasn’t. Instead, he lets bills to lower drug prices gather dust on Mitch McConnell’s desk.

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