Candidates Lining Up for 2016 Senate Race

Dec 14, 2015

Credit S. Lincoln

If you’ve been thinking there’s a surplus of candidates for the 2016 presidential election, just wait till you hear how many are eyeing Louisiana’s 2016 U.S. Senate race.

It’s been just over 3 weeks since David Vitter conceded the governor’s race and announced, “I’m eager to refocus on the important work of the United States Senate, but I’m only going to be doing that for one more year, through this term.”

Now potential candidates for that open seat are coming out of the woodwork. First up was Republican congressman John Fleming of Minden.

“I am a candidate for the United States Senate,” he has announced, via a video posted on his website.

Fleming will be vying for the far-right conservative vote with Tea Party Republican Rob Maness.

“Let’s get this border secured. Let’s check these folks out and take care of business,” the retired Air Force colonel has said, regarding immigration issues.

Maness, if you recall, ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, and got 14 percent of the vote in the primary. He has already filed with the Federal Elections Commission for the 2016 race.

So has Lafayette congressman Charles Boustany.

“I have long supported legislation to end funding for Planned Parenthood,” said the retired physician in a House floor speech this fall. He’s been active in trying to repeal Obamacare, as well. Also a Republican, Boustany is officially announcing his candidacy this evening at a press conference in Lafayette.

Then there’s state Treasurer John Kennedy, who was a loud and proud supporter of Vitter’s gubernatorial run.

“The people of Louisiana deserve government as good as they are,” Kennedy declared, on Vitter’s behalf. Yet many political insiders viewed the treasurer’s support of Vitter carried an ulterior motive; if elected governor, Vitter would have the power to appoint someone to fill the remainder of his current term in the U.S. Senate.

Though Kennedy has made no overt moves toward a run as yet, a political action committee backing him ran a poll last weekend, checking potential matchups. It shows the Republican state treasurer in a tight race with Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell. Campbell has said he’s “seriously thinking” about running.

Campbell may find the race crowded with Public Service commissioners. Metairie Republican Eric Skrmetta has told donors he is forming an exploratory committee.  

Then there’s Scott Angelle.

“There’s an old cliché’ in politics that the candidate with the right message and enough money always beats the candidate with no message and all the money,” Angelle said, during his run for governor.

The 3rd-place finisher in the gubernatorial race has been mentioned as a possible U.S. Senate candidate, though many believe a surer course would be for Angelle to run for Boustany’s congressional seat.