BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Sheriffs' Association is backing U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Senate race, choosing the Democratic incumbent over her closest Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.

The association announced its endorsement Friday, after a vote was taken this week during the sheriffs' annual conference in Florida.

In a statement, Michael Ranatza, executive director of the association, said Landrieu's "senior status" and her continued support for the sheriffs throughout her career were deciding factors.

The sheriffs also endorsed Landrieu, who is running for a fourth term in the Nov. 4 election, during her 2002 and 2008 campaigns.

An association spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a question about how many sheriffs voted for Landrieu and how many voted to endorse Cassidy or Republican and tea party favorite Rob Maness.

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