Updated: 5 p.m. | Two days after Republican Sen. David Vitter’s defeat in the Louisiana governor’s race and his announcement that he would not seek re-election, two Republicans said they were readying campaigns for the seat next year.
In a statement Monday morning, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., a six-term Republican from southwest Louisiana who had considered a run for Senate in 2014, said a “formal announcement” for 2016 will take place soon near his hometown of Lafayette. “Louisiana deserves a United States Senator who can lead in times of challenge, offer conservative, workable solutions to complex problems, and bring unity in times of division,” he said. “I look forward to outlining my vision for Louisiana and how I intend to help lead our state to the bright future I know lies before us.”
His statement was followed by one by Rep. John Fleming, R-La., who said he planned to do the same.
“Louisiana wants a leader that will take their values to D.C. and will fight for them without wavering. So I am planning a formal announcement in the near future and at that time I will share my goals for Louisiana and our nation, and why I believe the voters are eager to see real, conservative solutions in our nation’s capital,” he said.
The two are not alone in their interest in the seat that has been held by Vitter since 2004. State Treasurer John Kennedy and former Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, a Republican who finished third in the October primary, only four points behind Vitter, have both made very clear that they are considering campaigns.
With $2.4 million already in the bank, Fleming would enter the race with a cash advantage. But Kennedy, who was easily re-elected in October, could transfer the large sums of money he has for his state campaign to an outside group that could boost a Senate bid.
Vitter’s loss on Saturday was the exception in Louisiana rather than the rule. In other statewide races that were decided that night, Republicans easily outdid their Democratic rivals. The Louisiana Senate race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.