Cassie Felder drops out of 6th District race and endorses Dan Claitor _lowres

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Cassie Felder withdrew Thursday from the race for the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District seat.

Republican Cassie Felder officially withdrew Thursday from the race to become congresswoman for the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District.

She endorsed the candidacy of state Sen. Dan Claitor and criticized the bid of Garret Graves, both fellow Baton Rouge Republicans.

Claitor and Graves are considered by some — no independent polls have been released — to be among the leading Republicans hoping to find themselves in a runoff with former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards, a Democrat from Gonzales, in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge. Though Edwards is thought to be leading in the Nov. 4 race, the 6th district is mocked by late-night comedians as “turbo-Republican” and whatever GOP candidate – there are seven running – who makes it into the Dec. 6 runoff, could likely win.

There are also three Democrats and one Libertarian running for the seat.

Felder wrote that she agrees with Claitor politically, “and finds him to be very direct, open, and honest.”

Graves, on the other hand, is “the wrong choice” in her view. She has been attempting to question Graves under oath about his hiring of her former campaign strategists. Felder has sued her former strategists, The Policial Firm, in 19th Judicial District Court. The Political Firm quit her employ and later went to work for Graves’ campaign.

A query to the Graves campaign seeking a response to Felder’s comments went unanswered.

But in a rare airing of a candidate’s personal opinions about former opponents, Felder mentioned that Graves still owns a home on Capitol Hill in Washington and is supported by a businessman, Boysie Bollinger, who also backs U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s reelection. “It’s a crony liberal nexus, and Graves is in the center of it. He runs proudly as the politician currying favor with all the other politicians and wealthy special interests,” Felder wrote in a posting on her website.

Felder said Claitor has more experience than Paul Dietzel, who she described as capable with a “bright future.” He is a Baton Rouge Republican businessman who is among the leaders in the field.

Felder said she doesn’t know well state Rep. Lenar Whitney, of Houma and another Republican leader in the 6th District race, but faulted her for no longer participating in forums.

She called the other three Republican candidates — Craig McCulloch, of Ethel; Bob Bell, and Trey Thomas, both of Baton Rouge — “excellent people,” who are “running for the right reasons.”

Because Felder withdrew after ballots were printed, her name will appear on ballot, but any votes cast for her will not count, according to the Louisiana Secretary of State.

Early voting begins Oct. 21 for the Nov. 4 election.

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