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Holden among many Louisiana politicians being urged to run for congressional seat

With Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden leaving office next year, and following his runoff defeat for lieutenant governor, supporters are encouraging him to run for something else in 2016. One of the possibilities is the 2nd Congressional District, which picks up parts of the Baton Rouge region.

That would pit Holden against New Orleans Congressman Cedric Richmond, the delegation’s only Democrat. Asked about the potential of such a matchup, Holden offered “no comment” through a spokesperson. Those close to the Democratic mayor say he’s being encouraged to consider several different possibilities for his future.

Meanwhile, in the 4th Congressional District that’s being vacated by Congressman John Fleming of Minden, who is preparing to run for the U.S. Senate, several names are cropping up. State Rep. Jim Morris, a Republican businessman with oil and gas interests, says he is considering running.

“It’s something we’re looking into. We’re taking a glance at it,” Morris says. “I haven’t even been sworn into the last seat I ran for and I’m focused on that right now.”

Freshman state Rep. Mike Johnson is expected to announce early next year and Rocky Rockett, Bossier City’s economic development chair, is being encouraged to run. So is former Shreveport mayor Keith Hightower, the only Democrat in the developing field so far, but it’s viewed as unlikely.

In the 3rd District, which Congressman Charles Boustany of Lafayette is also abandoning to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016, there are even more names in the developing field. The latest to surface belongs to state Rep. Stuart Bishop, who has the personal finances to jumpstart a media-based campaign. Bishop has said he has not made up his mind but is being encouraged to run by voters in the district and his donor base.

Should Bishop run, it would partly be a race of legislators and former legislators. Two other outgoing lawmakers, Rep. Brett Geymann of Lake Charles, who has already started campaigning, and Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, who is merely flirting at this point, are both part of the mix.

Lafayette Parish School Board Member Erick Knezek is meeting with supporters and is a possible candidate in the developing race and retired Army Lt. Col. Greg Ellison, the general manager of Kitty Hawk Energy, appears to be in the beginning stages of a potential run as well.

—Jeremy Alford

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