Names floating in, out of developing U.S. Senate race

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, foreground, hopes to replace Vitter in the Senate.
Photo by Robin May

With U.S. Sen. David Vitter expected to not seek re-election in 2016, there has been rush of names ahead of the turn of the year as politicos try to outmaneuver each other before the race begins in earnest.

The latest news comes from Congressman John Fleming, who officially announced via a web video on Monday, and state Rep. Paul Hollis, who said he is thinking about running.

Calling himself a “passionate conservative,” Fleming, a Republican from Minden, is already staking out a position to the far right with criticisms of President Barack Obama and the GOP establishment.

“But there is more blame to go around,” Fleming said in his announcement video. “We have too many in Washington who are all too willing to just go along with the status quo and not make any waves.”

Hollis, a Covington Republican who was re-elected to another term in the Louisiana Legislature this fall, said he has received an outpouring of encouragement from neighbors and friends.

“With the growing threat of Isis abroad and at home, lackluster economic growth, and continued issues with Obamacare and other failed big government programs, we need a proven conservative as our next U.S. senator who won’t back down, won’t make excuses, and won’t cave in under pressure,” he said.

Also expected to formally announce his bid soon is Republican Congressman Charles Boustany of Lafayette. He has already staffed up for the race and has told donors he intends to run.

Said to be looking at the possibility as well are Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, who lost his campaign for governor this year; retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2014; and state Treasurer John Kennedy. All are Republicans.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has been leading the speculation on the Democratic side of the developing field, told LaPolitics last week that he would not be a candidate.

Caroline Fayard, another Democrat from New Orleans who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, is making the usual rounds, though, and looks to be an early contender.