Before the elections last week, Louisiana Senate GOP candidate Rob Maness was a harsh critic of rival Bill Cassidy, whom he argued was not sufficiently conservative enough to win the Republican nomination.
“Bill Cassidy is Mary Landrieu with an ‘R’ next to his name,” Maness’s campaign website stated. “Louisiana deserves better than the same old Establishment Washington Insiders representing them in the U.S. Senate.”
How things have changed.
Over the weekend, Maness posted a photo on Facebook of “a double date” the two candidates went on with their wives at a New Orleans restaurant to bury the hatchet.
“Congressman Cassidy and I had a positive discussion concerning our shared love for our country and for Louisiana… Before it was over, Bill even helped me put a new bumper sticker on our truck,” Maness wrote.
Last week, Maness lost to Cassidy in the state’s unusual jungle primary. As Cassidy and incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu face each other in a Dec. 6 run-off, the big question is whether Cassidy can count on Maness supporters to take out Landrieu.
In the first round of voting, Landrieu won 42 percent, Cassidy got 41 percent and Maness got 14 percent. Simple math shows that it is crucial for Cassidy to get Maness’s voters to the polls.
Republicans are doing what they can to show a unified front.
On Monday, both Cassidy and Maness appeared in Baton Rouge for a unity rally with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Being a team player could pay off for Maness: some supporters hope he could be appointed to replace Louisiana Sen. David Vitter if that Republican runs for governor next year.
“Col. Maness has a bright future in the Louisiana GOP,” Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger F. Villere, Jr. said.
“More than 200,000 Louisiana voters, many of them first time Republican voters, cast their ballots for Col. Maness and respect the honor and principled conservative leadership that he has shown,” Villere said.
Meanwhile, Landrieu is running a hard-hitting ad against Cassidy over the weekend, showing clips of the Republican stumbling during a speech the narrator called “nearly incoherent.” The purpose of the Democrat’s ad is to portray Cassidy as ineffective.
“We lose Mary Landrieu’s clout?” the narrator said. “For this?”