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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

METAIRIE, La. -- Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy made it official Wednesday. He is now challenging three-term incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu in the November 2014 race.

Wednesday, the Baton Rouge Republican, whose district extends through Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes in the New Orleans metro, met with supporters in Metairie.

'Sure, she's been their for 18 years,' Cassiday said. 'Sure, Barack's behind her. But I think people in Louisiana want something besides a Barack Obama, Senator Landrieu agenda.'

'Congressman Cassidy is going to try to hang President Obama around Senator Landrieu's neck,' said Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos. 'It will be her task to separate herself from the president somewhat and go on the counter-offensive to say that if Cassidy gets in, he'll be a junior member of the minority party.'

DuBos also says others have tried and failed to paint Landrieu as too liberal and too Democrat for Louisiana.

'Interestingly, in the last three times, she has won each election by greater and greater margins. That doesn't mean she'll win this one at all, but she's got a trend on her side.'

Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk released a statement saying: 'Bill Cassidy knows his only hope is to run a Jindalesque campaign of smoke and mirrors. His rhetoric is as empty as his record.'

Cassidy is the first of what could be a number of prominent Louisiana Republicans jumping into next year's Senate race.

Other possible GOP candidates include Congressman John Flemming from Minden and former Congressman Jeff Landry from New Iberia.

'If there's others, I can't control that,' said Cassidy. 'All I can control is connecting with as many voters as I possibly can.'

Landrieu released a statement, which reads in part: 'I have a proven record of fighting and winning for Louisiana... Securing funds for coastal restoration, helping rebuild our state after destructive hurricanes, supporting our oil, gas and petro-chemical industry, promoting small business start-ups and expansion in Louisiana.'

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