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Louisiana Senate and House candidates receive endorsements as election nears

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  With Election Day less than two months away, candidates are seeking — and getting — early endorsements from some major organizations. In the U.S. Senate race, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy touted his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, while the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, announced her endorsement by the Louisiana Association of Educators as well as more than 500 local elected officials — Democrats and Republicans — from parishes large and small across the state.

  The Louisiana Democratic Party endorsed former Gov. Edwin Edwards in the 6th Congressional District race, a move that was predictably denounced by conservatives. Quin Hillyer, in the National Review, called it "an action of gobsmocking [sic] amorality," while Scott McKay of the Baton Rouge website The Hayride pointed out, accurately, "They just endorsed a man who spent eight years in federal prison on public corruption charges."

  Meanwhile, Robert Mann — the reliably liberal columnist for The Times-Picayune — said the endorsement was enough to get him to vote for a Republican this fall. (Edwards tweeted a cheery goodbye message to Mann. The former governor later deleted the tweet.)

  The 6th Congressional District race has no shortage of conservative candidates, but it was state Rep. Lenar Whitney who last week received the endorsement of the Tea Party of Louisiana. In recent days, Whitney told a Baton Rouge audience that her first bit of legislation in Congress would be the introduction of a bill to repeal the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. She also has advocated abolishing the U.S. Departments of Energy and Education.

  Over in the 5th Congressional District race, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Zach Dasher (a relative of the Duck Dynasty Robertson family) over incumbent Vance McAllister. Palin, who said she met Dasher at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans earlier this year, wrote, "Zach Dasher understands what our Founders meant by the 'blessings of liberty' and will be a happy, happy, happy warrior in Washington to restore them!" Palin already had endorsed Rob Maness, the tea party-favored candidate, in the Senate race led by Landrieu and Cassidy.

  Locally, the Republican Party of Jefferson Parish announced its slate of endorsed candidates in the Nov. 4 elections. On the federal level, the parish GOP had earlier decided to support Cassidy for U.S. Senate, and last week the group voted to endorse incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise for re-election in the 1st Congressional District and incumbent Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta in PSC District 1. Scalise was elected House Majority Whip in June.

  Expect more endorsements in the next two weeks as various government groups hold candidate forums and issue their recommendations.

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