In an announcement that would probably shock nobody, Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy told the USA Today Network last week that he plans to seek a second term in Washington next year.
The much more interesting question is whether anyone else of note will. So far, things have been awfully quiet.
The race will follow this year’s gubernatorial contest, and if Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards wins reelection, his party could be feeling pretty good about its chances of unseating the Baton Rouge Republican. Moreover, Cassidy would have to run in a presidential election year this time, which could provide a more favorable atmosphere for Democrats than off-year contests such as the one he won in 2014.
That doesn’t mean that the Democrats should let an Edwards victory, should it happen, go to their heads.
Cassidy was the one who finally turned Louisiana’s Congressional delegation red, with the exception of the one House district dominated by Democratic voters and held by U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond. He was the one who ended the 18-year career of former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who made taking care of her state a personal brand yet still suffered in many voters’ minds from the D next to her name. Landrieu’s brother Mitch, the former lieutenant governor and New Orleans mayor and rising star in the national party, will surely consider her fate if he’s tempted to run statewide again.
Cassidy’s real advantage here is that, unlike gubernatorial contests, Senate elections have become fully nationalized, with results that usually reflect voters’ views on what’s happening up in Washington. Despite the constant scandals coming from the Trump administration, there’s no hint that Louisiana’s overall preference for Republicans has changed.
Which means there’s no hint, as of now, that Cassidy has much cause for concern — no matter who else decides signs up.