Republican Sen. David Vitter is eyeing the Louisiana governor’s mansion, and he’ll decide over the holidays whether he will launch a 2015 bid.
The GOP senator said in an email to supporters on Wednesday he would weigh whether to launch a campaign over Christmas with his family,
“Many good friends and supporters have encouraged me to run for governor in 2015–to bring my focus and leadership to the challenges we face as a state,” Vitter wrote in the email. “We started to consider this as a family over Thanksgiving. We certainly haven’t made our decision yet, so we’ll be reflecting and praying on it very carefully through the Christmas holidays.”
Vitter told the AP in an interview Tuesday the timing to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal in the off-year contest made sense, and that he would make a decision by January.
“This is the logical time to do it, if I’m ever going to do it,” said the Republican. “There are strong arguments in either direction, but the general question in my mind is where I think I can make the most positive contribution.”
First elected to the Senate in 2004 after serving six years in the House, Vitter won re-election in 2010 even after he was embroiled in a 2007 “D.C. madam” prostitution scandal after his phone number appeared on the call lists of the high-end escort service. The conservative senator appeared alongside his wife and apologized for his “very serious sin.”
Democrats quickly jumped on the possibility of a Vitter candidacy. On Wednesday, the Louisiana Democratic Party launched VitterForGovernor.com
“Maybe there are still one or two voters in Louisiana honestly musing whether David Vitter is looking to move on from the Senate,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk, pointing to their website. “However, we have always suspected Vitter had his eyes on the governor’s mansion, which is why we helpfully went out and secured a website URL for him.”
Vitter likely wouldn’t have the GOP field to himself in two years though. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) told the Baton Rouge Advocate, “I intend to run regardless of what David chooses to do.” Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy said he’s also “seriously considering” a bid. State Rep. John Bel Edwards is the only announced Democrat in the GOP-leaning state.