NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana GOP on Saturday made the unusual decision to endorse Rep. Bill Cassidy's campaign to unseat Sen. Mary Landrieu in the state's high-profile Senate race, saying he is the right man for the job and winning the seat is key to taking control of the upper chamber.
"Bill Cassidy is the type of man we need in the U.S. Senate," said Roger Villere, chairman of Republican Party of Louisiana.
"If Louisiana goes Republican this fall, the Senate will go Republican — and Bill Cassidy is just the kind of conservative to make sure that happens," Mr. Villere said. "With a strong candidate like Dr. Cassidy and a united state party behind him, I have every confidence we will be successful this fall."
Retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness is also running in the race, and has received the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who appeared a campaign event with him here at the Republican Leadership Conference.
The race is seen as key to the GOP's chance of taking control of the Senate. Republicans need to pick up six seats to flip control of the upper chamber, and Mrs. Landrieu is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the 2014 election.
The endorsement is the first made in a runoff election by the state Republican party since it threw its support behind then-Rep Bobby Jindal's gubernatorial campaign in 2007.
Mr. Cassidy also has won the endorsements of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas also praised Mr. Cassidy on Saturday.
"I know Bill Cassidy," Mr. Gohmert said. "Bill Cassidy is a friend of mine, and I can tell you Bill Cassidy is no Mary Landrieu."
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