Three-term Rep. Bill Cassidy is the GOP establishment's preferred candidate against Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. It's not too difficult to find consultants who'll talk down Cassidy (he's not exciting, while Landrieu is an outstanding retail politician—there, just saved you an anonymous quote), but he's got the advantage if he gets Landreiu into a runoff. Getting there means blasting past a Tea Party candidate, though, so Cassidy can't just ignore the demands of the right.
I think this was the context for Cassidy's town hall answer, last week, after being asked whom he'd support for leader if he got to the Senate.
"I don't know," says Cassidy. "I don't know who's running. That's an honest answer. I don't know who's running. But it's kind of interesting, because people who are rumored to be running are helping me tremendously in my campaign. John Cornyn called just the other day."
In the clip below, you can hear Cassidy talk about how much the energy industry can do for him and how proud he is to be backed by John Cornyn. At no point in the clip does he discuss Mitch McConnell.
Haven't heard back from McConnell or Cornyn about this yet.
UPDATE: Okay, I heard back. McConnell's office says that, yes, he plans to run for leader at the end of the year. From Cornyn's office:
Cornyn has previously said he is a “big fan” of Sen. McConnell and he expects him to win his race. When he does, Sen. Cornyn will support him as the next leader of Senate Republicans.