Washington (CNN) – Bill Cassidy's strategy is simple. The congressman from Louisiana, who Wednesday officially announced his Republican challenge to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, is tying her to President Barack Obama.
"It's going to be a tough race. I'm running against Sen. Mary Landrieu, who's been there for 18 years, and against the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama. President Obama wants Sen. Landrieu re-elected. She supports President Obama 97% of the time, has given him a blank for his wasteful spending," says the three term federal lawmaker, who represents Louisiana's sixth congressional district, in a campaign video announcing his bid for the Senate.
In his video, Cassidy goes on to say that "President Obama does not want me, a conservative Republican, representing the views of the people of Louisiana, to serve in the Senate."
Not a bad strategy in a state that's turning increasingly red. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney topped Obama 58%-41% in Louisiana in last November's election.
Cassidy's comments are being mirrored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of Senate Republicans.
"Over the last 15 years, Senator Landrieu has lost touch with Louisiana and transformed into a Washington Liberal, evidenced by her consistent support for President Obama's most controversial initiatives like ObamaCare and massive tax hikes, which is why voters will oppose her in 2014," said NRSC Communications Director Brad Dayspring, in a statement.
Landrieu, the three term senator who hails from a well known Louisiana political family, has a history of winning tough elections. And Louisiana Democrats think that Cassidy's voting history in the House could hurt him next year if he ends up being his party's Senate nominee.
"Bill Cassidy has spent his time in Congress fighting for extremists in Washington at the expense of the people of Louisiana. He is going to have a hard time convincing people in Louisiana that he has their best interests at heart when he repeatedly votes against hurricane protection and recovery funding and votes to give tax cuts to millionaires," said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party.
Cassidy may not have the GOP field to himself. Republican Rep. John Fleming said in a statement after Cassidy's announcement that he "hasn't ruled anything out."
The Democrats currently hold 55 seats in the Senate (including two independents who caucus with the party) to the GOP's 45 seats. But at this point, they'll be defending 21 of the 35 Senate seats up for election in 2014. And the GOP feels they have a strong chance of winning back Landrieu's seat.
Prior to Cassidy's announcement, two of the top non-partisan political handicappers gave a slight edge to Landrieu, with the Cook Political Report rating the race "lean D" and the Rothenberg Political Report rating the contest "toss up/tilt D."
"Given Louisiana's increasingly Republican bent and Landrieu's history of close races, she'll have to hope that she can hang onto her Senate seat by her fingernails next year. She is certain to have a very tough race in 2014," Stu Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report, tells CNN.
"Mary Landrieu's hold on this seat has always been considered tenuous. She has benefitted in past races from weak opponents or challengers who ran lackluster campaigns. Still, she has never gotten more than 52 percent of the vote," writes Jennifer Duffy, senior editor at the Cook Report. "Landrieu hopes that her moderate voting record, her opposition to many of the Obama Administration's policies, and her attention to issues important to the state will carry her across the finish line and to a fourth term."