Texas Republicans Join Grassroots Efforts in Louisiana Senate Runoff

Texas Republicans Join Grassroots Efforts in Louisiana Senate Runoff

AUSTIN, Texas — The elections in Texas may be over, but the work is not for many Texas Republicans, who are now in Louisiana helping Representative Bill Cassidy, the Republican who is challenging Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu in a runoff election. The November 4 elections returned control over the Senate to the Republicans and increased the Republican majority in the Senate, and the Landrieu-Cassidy race is the nation’s final remaining undecided Senate seat. 

The Texas Young Republican Federation (TYRF) is among the groups that have organized their members to help provide “boots-on-the-ground” support for the Cassidy campaign, joining Young Republicans from Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts to phone bank and knock on doors in Baton Rouge. According to TYRF President Richard Morgan, the Young Republication National Federation (YRNF) anticipated back in August that the race would end up in a runoff — Louisiana’s “jungle primary” system and crowded field of candidates made it highly unlikely any one candidate would be able to get more than 50 percent of the votes — and decided to hold their quarterly board meeting in Louisiana so that their members could help make a difference in the campaign. 

Even though the Republicans have already secured the Senate majority, the Young Republicans still felt that it was important to go to Louisiana. “Although Republicans won by a landslide this cycle, we know we have 24 Republican-held U.S. Senate seats to defend in 2016,” said Morgan. “How bad would it be if Republicans were to win the presidency but lose control of the Senate in 2016? Picking up this seat now gives us a significantly better buffer [for 2016.”

Senator John Cornyn’s campaign manager Brendan Steinhauser told Breitbart Texas that they sent over about thirteen staffers (Steinhauser, Outreach Director Amanda Shell, Political Director Josh Eboch, plus several field staffers) to Louisiana, rotating people in to help in the Shreveport area since the beginning of November. Steinhauser said that they were coordinating directly with the Cassidy campaign on the ground, knocking on doors during the day and phone banking during the evenings.

Over the last two days, 4 of us from @TeamCornyn have hit over 1000 voters and houses in our GOTV efforts for @BillCassidy#lasen

— Kammie Russel (@KamRussel) November 22, 2014

Steinhauser said that he had discussed the idea of going to Louisiana with Cornyn a few months ago, and the Senator was “very excited” about being able to help, agreeing to make the commitment to send people before the election, and continuing on after the election results were known to help shore up the Republicans’ Senate majority.

The time in Louisiana has been very positive, said Steinhauser, and they are seeing strong support for Cassidy. “People are really friendly, and the weather is nice,” he said “Everybody has been welcoming, and very willing to hear what you have to say…[we’re] getting more people opening the doors more than anywhere else I’ve ever campaigned,” especially considering this was Thanksgiving week.

Roughly 90% of voters we talk to during block walking support @BillCassidy! Things look good on the ground. @TeamCornyn @JohnCornyn #LASen

— Amanda Shell (@amandabshell) November 19, 2014

“It’s been a very positive and well-coordinated effort,” he added, praising the RNC’s work to coordinate the many different Republican groups arriving from around the country. “The cavalry is here.”

Morgan shared Steinhauser’s positive view of the experience of campaigning in Louisiana. “Having the opportunity to participate in a nationwide deployment with so many young leaders who are concerned about the future of our country is one of the more memorable activities I have experienced,” said Morgan.

Texas Republican elected officials have also directly assisted the Cassidy campaign. Cornyn and Governor Rick Perry both endorsed Cassidy, and Steinhauser confirmed that Cornyn had done several fundraising events for him. Perry visited Louisiana on Tuesday, and delivered speeches at Cassidy events in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Covington.

In a statement provided to Breitbart Texas, Perry spokeman Travis Considine shared why the Governor was traveling to Louisiana. “November 4th was a great night for Republicans and for the country,” said Considine. “But an important race went to overtime, and Gov. Perry is going to Louisiana to help get Bill Cassidy over the finish line. The Governor knows that with Dr. Cassidy in the U.S. Senate, he can use his professional experience to fight Obamacare and jump-start America’s economy by helping create energy jobs.” The debate over building the Keystone XL pipeline has been a major issue in the race, as Breitbart Texas has reported.

Early voting began in Louisiana on Saturday, and the runoff election is scheduled for  December 6. Polls show Cassidy is in the lead.

Photo provided courtesy of the Texas Young Republican Federation.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker