In Louisiana, every candidate, Democrat or Republican, runs on the same ballot on Election Day. If no candidate receives a simple majority in the all-party primary, the top-two vote-getters continue to a runoff in December.
Operatives from both sides of the aisle say that setup could lead to a bruising race for the GOP. If more than one serious Republican candidate emerges, GOP candidates will be attacking each other — instead of Landrieu — until early November.
Fortunately for Republicans, two of the state’s other prominent Republicans, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, have already said they won’t run for the seat.
Democrats have been quick to label Cassidy as an extremist.
“Bill Cassidy knows his only hope is to run a Jindalesque campaign of smoke and mirrors,” Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk said in a statement. “His rhetoric is as empty as his record.”
And Democratic operatives warn Landrieu’s ability to ward off challengers cannot be overlooked. The three-term senator was first elected in 1996 with 50 percent of the vote, and she survived two re-elections with 51 percent and 52 percent, respectively.
“They all think that they’ve got her, and it hasn’t happened yet,” said Democratic strategist Bradley Beychok, who has worked in Louisiana politics. “She knows what she’s facing. She’s ready for war, and she’s not scared.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.