At least 15 politicos—some running, some thinking about running and others simply being encouraged to run—are now in the hunt to replace U.S. Sen. David Vitter in 2016.
The freshest possibility of the bunch is state Rep. Brett Geymann, the term-limited Republican who has been openly campaigning for the presumably vacant 3rd Congressional District seat. “We’ve been in conversations with some folks, not initiated by us, about the Senate race,” Geymann said. “But we are deeply focused on the 3rd Congressional District.”
As reported in LaPolitics last month, Duck Dynasty candidate Zach Dasher, the Republican who was narrowly edged out of the 5th Congressional District runoff in 2014, has been approached about running, too. Dasher says in an interview that while a new cybersecurity business is keeping him busy, he has not ruled out a run.
“Any time you are conservative in a state with an open seat, you have a lot of people expressing interest and you have others who are vicious and do not want you to run. I have not made a decision on what I’m going to do politically,” Dasher says, adding a final decision would be made after Christmas.
Already announced via a holiday card sent to friends and family is former Congressman Joseph Cao, a New Orleans attorney. In neighboring Jefferson Parish, outgoing Parish President John Young also announced this week he is considering the race. Young ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor this fall.
For those keeping score at home, also in the field are:
- Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R), who has enjoyed a strong position in recent polls and will announce his plans after Christmas.
- Congressman Charles Boustany (R), who has announced and is rumored to be in line for support from the American Crossroads super PAC.
- Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta (R), who has formed an exploratory committee and will decide by early March.
- 2010 lieutenant governor candidate Caroline Fayard of New Orleans (D), who is thinking about it.
- Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D), a close ally of Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards, who is seriously considering the race.
- Congressman John Fleming (R), who has announced and is being supported by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund.
- Outgoing Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert, a former state senator with no party affiliation who is in conversations with The Centrist Project for help and resources.
- State Rep. Paul Hollis (R), who is thinking about it.
- State Treasurer John Kennedy (R), who is already being supported by the Make Louisiana Proud super PAC and will announce his intentions after Christmas.
- Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness (R), who was recently endorsed by 55 tea party leaders and has filed the required federal paperwork.
- State Sen. Gary Smith Jr. (D) of St. Charles Parish, who has had several conversations with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.