Bill Cassidy was in friendly territory Monday, appearing at the charter school his wife co-founded.
"You all are the best ambassadors for Louisiana Key Academy," Cassidy told cheering students prior to a news conference blasting a Louisiana Education Association lawsuit aimed at charter school funding.
All 181 students at LKA, in grades 1-3, have dyslexia, and parents credit the school with working miracles for children who otherwise had trouble learning how to read.
"How, as a parent, do you look at your 7-year-old child and reassure him that he's not stupid?" asked Stacy Antie, whose son attends the school. "His brain just thinks a little differently than other kids."
The suit, filed in state district court in East Baton Rouge Parish, argues the Louisiana Constitution bars privately-run schools from receiving money through the Minimum Foundation Program, the main funding source for public schools.
"We have to be firmly on the side of the parent as she or he intervenes for their child," Cassidy said.
He also faulted Washington, where he insisted special interests have derailed efforts to reform schools.
Cassidy campaign aides played up recent polls, which suggest the campaign is on the rise.
While he trails Landrieu in a three-way race, the realcleapolitics.com average of polls over the last month shows Cassidy with a 48-42 advantage over incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu in a head-to-head race.
Cassidy found himself fielding questions from reporters, who complain his campaign has become difficult to follow on a regular basis, with few scheduled events and little opportunity for longer, issue-oriented interviews.
"We have been around this state," Cassidy said. "There are press advisories."
Cassidy also shot back at criticism from Landrieu, who accuses him of dodging debates.
He has agreed to only two televised debates, leaving Landrieu to confront Republican Rob Maness without Cassidy on the stage.
"We're going to have more than enough time to discuss Senator Landrieu being the essential vote for Obamacare," Cassidy said.