Louisiana Senate Race 2014: ABC News' '14 For '14'

PHOTO: Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., waves as she arrives with President Barack Obama aboard Air Force One at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Nov. 8, 2013.

ABC News' "14 For 14" project is documenting 14 races that matter between now and November. This page will be updated throughout the year. See the full list of 2014 midterm election contests the ABC News political team is tracking.

THE PLAYERS

Sen. Mary Landrieu
Democrat
Served in the Senate since 1997.
Age: 59 (Born: November 23, 1955)

Rep. Bill Cassidy
Republican
Served in the House since 2009.
Age: 57 (Born: September 28, 1957)

Rob Maness
Republican
Retired military officer; has not held public office.
Age: 52 (Born: November 14, 1961)

THE STAKES

As longtime Sen. Mary Landrieu makes her bid for a fourth term in the Senate, the seat is considered a must-win for Democrats as they fight to maintain their slim majority in the Senate. Facing off against Landrieu is one-term Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is considered the GOP frontrunner and has the backing of the establishment. Challenging Cassidy is retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness, who has no previous political experience but has the support of the Tea Party, including the coveted endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

THE OUTLOOK

Landrieu faces a tough race in an increasingly conservative Louisiana as she campaigns for a fourth term. Landrieu, who has never won an election with more than 53 percent of the vote, is expected to face an especially challenging re-election bid this cycle following the botched rollout of the president’s health care law. In addition to her base support among progressive African-Americans, the senator must appeal to the state’s white moderate population -- many of whom despise the health care law that Landrieu voted for, though she is now calling to reform. Republican political donors, including the deep-pocketed Koch brothers, are said to be pouring money into the state with ads attacking Obamacare. Among the field of GOP candidates, Rep. Bill Cassidy, who enjoys strong popularity in his district, is considered the strongest contender; however, the unexpected entrance of Tea Party candidate Rob Maness means Cassidy can’t take his expected lead for granted.

ABC NEWS RATING

Toss-up

KEY DATES

November 4, 2014: General election

December 6, 2014: If one candidate does not receive 50 percent of the vote on November 4, there will be a runoff election to determine the ultimate victor. Louisiana operates under an “open” primary system, meaning there are no individual party primaries and all the candidates will run on the same ticket on the day of the general election.

IN THE NEWS

Vulnerable Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu Gets a Shout Out From First Lady

‘Hardheaded’ Sen. Mary Landrieu and Dad Team Up for Cute Campaign Ad

Sarah Palin Endorses Tea Party Underdog and Alligator Wrestler Rob Maness in Louisiana Senate Race

Mary Landrieu Criticized for Re-Enacting Congressional Hearing in New Ad

GOP Congressman Clarifies Controversial Remarks About Uninsured Americans

ABC’s ’14 For 14' Hot Seat: Meet Mary Landrieu’s Tea Party Challenger Rob Maness

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