Sen. Bill Cassidy launches reelection bid

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DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — Touring a Livingston Parish supermarket once submerged during the August 2016 floods, Louisiana’s senior U.S. senator told voters that — regarding his 2020 reelection bid — they need not shop elsewhere.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican, launched his quest for a second U.S. Senate term Wednesday, welcoming supporters inside a Rouse’s market in Denham Springs.

“I campaigned for office telling folks that ideas are more important than experience,” he said. “And we’ve been able to implement our ideas.”

Cassidy, a physician by trade, joined Capitol Hill’s upper chamber in 2015 and has backed efforts to stop surprise medical bills, cut prescription costs, give new parents paid leave and craft an Affordable Care Act replacement plan. He has aligned largely with the stances of President Donald Trump, eyeing a second term of his own this fall.

“We’ve got a pretty stark choice in this upcoming race, and I think the president’s policies have benefited our state and this nation,” Cassidy said. “I’m going to be with those policies.”

The Republican incumbent faces a challenge from Democrat Antoine Pierce, a Baton Rouge community organizer who served on Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome’s transition team. He launched his campaign in August on a platform of universal health care and wage equity.

“Louisiana needs a voice,” Pierce told BRProud.com in an interview Wednesday. “We need someone that comes from the working poor and the middle class that speaks to our needs, speaks to our issues.”

Louisiana Democratic leaders highlighted their opposition to Cassidy on Wednesday, issuing a statement shortly after the senator made his campaign launch official.

“Bill Cassidy has broken every promise he made to everyday Louisianans,” Louisiana Democratic Party executive director Stephen Handwerk said. “He’s spent his time in Congress supporting an all-out attack to rip health care away from millions of Americans and end preexisting conditions protections. He’s shown that we can’t trust him with our health care. We’re looking forward to electing a senator this fall who will keep their promises to Louisiana families.”

Cassidy has contended that despite his opposition to much of the Affordable Care Act, he supports shielding coverage of preexisting health conditions.

“It has to be sustainable not just for the family budget, but for the taxpayers who are subsidizing much of this,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Independents Gregory Fitch and Jamar Myers-Montgomery are also challenging Cassidy, who defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014. Others candidates may emerge before the mid-July registration deadline.

“We are working as if we have the strongest opponent in the world,” Cassidy said.

Louisiana voters will pick their candidate Tuesday, Nov. 3, the same day as the 2020 presidential vote.

Cassidy’s fellow U.S. senator from Louisiana, Republican John Kennedy, was elected in 2016 and is eligible for a second term in 2022.

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