WASHINGTON — State Rep. Alan Seabaugh announced he would forgo running for the U.S. Senate and instead support U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge.
Seabaugh, who had questioned whether Cassidy was “conservative enough,” said the key is to unite the GOP in defeating Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in her re-election bid. His entry into the race would only serve to “divide Republicans,” he wrote.
“During his tenure in the Louisiana Senate as well as the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Cassidy has been, if not quite a staunch hard-line conservative, at least a solid Republican vote,” Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, said in his announcement letter.
“In recent weeks, Bill Cassidy has proven something to me and fellow conservatives,” Seabaugh continued. “He stood with those of us who care about the future of this country by not giving in to President Obama and the liberal big spenders in Congress. This particular stand was important to me, as a conservative.”
Seabaugh referenced Cassidy’s recent support for the “Defund Obamacare” movement that eventually evolved into a demand to at least delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and led to the 16-day partial government shutdown.
Seabaugh’s announcement came just a few days after the tea party-aligned Senate Conservatives Fund of Virginia, announced it is backing Republican and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, of Madisonville, in the Senate race.
Maness significantly trails Landrieu and Cassidy in fundraising, but the new endorsement could help funnel national tea party dollars his way.
In a prepared statement, Maness said he agrees with Seabaugh’s initial assertion that Cassidy may not be conservative enough and a strong enough candidate to defeat Landrieu.
“As the only conservative in this race, I agree with Rep. Seabaugh completely — on both counts,” Maness stated.
Some conservatives have assailed Cassidy for his past as a Democrat before entering politics and for once donating money to Landrieu years ago.
Cassidy expressed gratitude for Seabaugh’s support.
“He’s been unafraid to fight hard for what he believes in the legislature, and I’m happy to have him join our fight to end Mary Landrieu’s rubber stamp for President Obama’s flawed agenda,” Cassidy said.
Other GOP members of the Louisiana Legislature, such as state Sen. Elbert Guillory, R-Opelousas, and state Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Mandeville, have not ruled out potential Senate campaigns yet.