Sen. David Vitter, R-La., announced Tuesday that he will run for governor next year, confirming the biggest open secret in Bayou State politics and on Capitol Hill.
“After much thought, prayer and discussion with Wendy and our children, I’ve decided to run for governor of Louisiana in 2015,” the second-term Republican says in a video on his redesigned campaign website.
Louisiana’s next gubernatorial election is in November 2015 — a year before Vitter’s Senate term would end. Should he lose, Vitter could keep his seat and decide whether to seek re-election.
If Vitter wins, he would have the power to appoint a successor to serve the final year of his term.
His announcement comes as Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., faces a challenging re-election campaign in 2014 against Rep. Bill Cassidy and other Republicans. Vitter’s gubernatorial bid means that ambitious members of his party may have another shot at the Senate just two years later.
On Capitol Hill, Vitter’s decision comes as no shock. For months, frustrated Senate Republican aides believed Vitter was pushing his health care amendment, which would have taken away employer contributions to plans of members and staff, as part of his pending gubernatorial campaign.
The so-called Vitter amendment provided him with an opportunity to prove his conservative bona fides in preparation for his gubernatorial run.
Otherwise, Vitter has largely stayed out of the spotlight since his prostitution scandal in 2007. He won re-election in 2010 with 57 percent of the vote.
Vitter first came to Congress in a 1999 special election to Louisiana’s 1st district following the resignation of Speaker-designate Bob Livingston, who had admitted to extramarital affairs. In 2004, Vitter won the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. John Breaux.