6th district congressional race already crowded

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Edwin Edwards certainly got people's attention with Wednesday's news of a possible run for Congress, but the candidate pool for that race is already very crowded.

Later this year 6th district representative Bill Cassidy will step down as U.S. Congressman to challenge Mary Landrieu in the Senate. At least nine people want his job.

A number of political newcomers have filed the paperwork to run. Local tax attorney Cassie Felder is the only woman so far. Felder says her campaign built up organically as she was looking for someone else to run. She says it's the perfect time for a small business owner to bring fresh ideas to Washington.

Another small business owner, 27-year-old Paul Dietzel, II agrees. The grandson of the LSU coaching legend thinks it's time for a new generation to step up and lead.

Another newcomer, Charles "Trey" Thomas is a former LSU football player and now works as an education consultant. He's campaigning on energy, entrepreneurship and education.

He faces two military veterans; retired Navy Captain Bob Bell, who's a political columnist for the Tea Party of Louisiana, and Norm Clark, who worked on a Navy submarine, and for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office.

The lone Democrat to join the race so far is a conservative one, and also new to politics. Richard Lieberman says his experience as a real-estate broker motivated him to fight for the struggling middle class.

Republican State Senator Dan Claitor has also filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, and says to have an effective government, we must elect principled people.

There are others who've declared their intent to run, but have yet to file the paperwork. They include Baton Rouge Metro councilman Ryan Heck and Craig McCulloch.

McCulloch runs a physical therapy practice in Baker.

Governor Jindal's former coastal advisor Garret Graves told the Baton Rouge Business Report he's considering a run, and LAPolitics.com reports autism advocate Shelly Hendrix will become the second woman in the race.

Two other names floating around are Board of Education President Chas Roemer and Tony Perkins, head of the conservative faith-based Family Research Council.

Then there is former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards.

"If Edwin Edwards makes a runoff in December for the Sixth District race, he quite likely will be on the same ballot on the same day as Mary Landrieu who also is quite likely to be in a runoff, and if that's the case then Landrieu and Edwards - whether they like it or not and whether their party likes it or not, they're running as a ticket," said political analyst Jim Engster.

Expect to hear more about the candidates as we get closer to November.