Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy drew the first high-profile challenger to his reelection bid Wednesday, when Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins announced his last-minute entrance into Louisiana’s Senate race as the candidate signup period began.
All of Louisiana’s incumbent members for Congress who are running for a new term drew challengers on the Nov. 3 ballot by the end of the first day of qualifying.
Perkins planned to file his registration paperwork Thursday.
Perkins, who announced his campaign just days before the qualifying period for the race ends Friday, underscored his decade of military service and the threat of the coronavirus pandemic in a launch video released Wednesday morning.
“My grandad was a sharecropper right here in Bossier Parish. I’ve traveled many miles from those days, fought in two wars, but the road I’ve taken in life always led me back to the Louisiana I love,” Perkins, who served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, said.
“I fought for our country abroad, and I’ll work here at home to improve our state for all Louisianans. Our country and state are at a crossroads. We face a virus that threatens our lives, our safety and our economy. This virus isn’t political, it’s deadly. But together, we can face the challenges of this moment head on,” he added.
Perkins grew up in the high crime, lower income Cedar Grove neighborhood of Shreveport. His father abandoned the family when the 34-year-old was a toddler. But his mother valued education and the church. After graduating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Perkins led soldiers in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He later graduated from Harvard Law School.
He had no intention, as late as a few months ago, to run for another office, Perkins said. But he said he was persuaded during pandemic after seeing his constituents lose their jobs and the federal government's somewhat befuddled response. He spoke to Democratic Party leadership both in Louisiana and nationwide before deciding.
“We will be able to generate enough resources to make this an extremely competitive race,” Perkins said. “I understand the odds, but we cannot afford to give Sen. Cassidy another chance on providing what we desperately need provided in Louisiana. This is a chance to choose a new road.”
Perkins already has an impressive campaign team. Here are just a few names:
Hilary Barrett, Campaign Manager – Barrett brings a wealth of senior campaign experience to the Perkins Campaign, most recently having served as Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 Nevada State Director where she oversaw the critical early state operation that helped launch the Vice President's primary comeback. Prior to that she served in senior roles with U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the Nevada State Democratic Party and Hillary for Nevada, as well as on gubernatorial, congressional and local campaigns in California, Texas and Utah.
Kia Bickham, Political Director – Bickham is a Louisiana strategic community engagement specialist with over 15 years of experience. Most recently, she served as the Louisiana Political Director for Mike Bloomberg 2020 and as Political Director for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ successful reelection campaign. Bickham also served as Chief Service Officer for the City of Baton Rouge, Community Outreach Manager for the Office of Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Director in the Office of Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.
Micah Cormier, Communications Director – A native of Louisiana, Cormier has over 10 years of government and campaign experience. Most recently, he served as Louisiana Communications Director for Mike Bloomberg 2020. Prior to that, he served as Press Secretary and Special Assistant to Gov. John Bel Edwards and later as Executive Director of Communications and Technology for St. Charles Parish Government.
Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins joined a virtual conversation Tuesday along with two other Louisiana mayors to share his thoughts about the current federal COVID-19 stimulus package and what should be included in the next round of relief funds.
“As we know, it has sparked havoc not only on our people but on our communities and has also been devastating to local government budgets,” said DeVante Lewis, director of public affairs and outreach at Louisiana Budget Project, who hosted the event along with Power Coalition and Invest in Louisiana.
Lewis said the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), signed into law March 27 for states, territories, tribes, and local governments provided some relief but fell short.
But the really good news is that he has the support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued the following endorsement of Shreveport Mayor and decorated Army veteran Adrian Perkins in the Louisiana U.S. Senate race:
“Mayor Adrian Perkins has dedicated his life to giving back to his community and his state, and he exemplifies the very best of Louisiana values like courage, integrity, and service. Instead of playing political games, Adrian will step up to the plate to ensure that the Senate is working for all Louisianians and giving them the fair shot and opportunity they deserve to succeed. I know Adrian will be a champion for bringing down health care costs, defending coverage protections for Louisianians with pre-existing conditions, and investing in education and good-paying jobs for his state as we rebuild our economy. We’re proud to endorse Adrian and look forward to supporting his campaign to bring new leadership to the U.S. Senate.”
Cassidy was already a GOP doofus and I’m glad he now has a real opponent. We need to go big everywhere if we are to win the Senate and the White House. Let’s make it happen. Click below to donate and get involved with Perkins and Biden’s campaigns: