‘LaPolitics:’ Former congressman considering gubernatorial bid

John Fleming, the former 4th District congressman and current deputy assistant secretary of health information technology reform, is seriously considering jumping into the developing race for governor, according to several sources. Friends of the Minden resident add that he has not yet set a timetable for making a final decision.

His ability to engage in political activities is limited due to his current job in President Donald Trump’s administration. If Fleming were to run for governor, he would have to resign his post before building any kind of a campaign apparatus.

Last year, Trump nominated Fleming to a post in the U.S. Department of Commerce. The nomination did not receive a confirmation vote in the Senate and was returned to the president upon adjournment of the 115th Congress. The White House has yet to re-submit Fleming’s nomination.

Fleming will be in Louisiana this week to participate in a panel discussion on health care with U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and Congressman Ralph Abraham during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

Besides incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards, Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone and Abraham have officially declared their candidacies. State Sen. Sharon Hewitt said she’ll make a final decision within the next few weeks.

Hewitt, an engineer by trade, said it’s all about heart—and numbers. “We’re still looking at all of the data to see if there is a path to victory,” she said.
She’s also thinking about “other alternatives,” which Capitol insiders believe could be re-election, if not something more, such as a bid for Senate president. “Whatever I decide to do, I will be all in and it will be full steam ahead,” she said.

Others said to be thinking about running for governor—or are at least being encouraged to run by colleagues—include: State Sens. Bret Allain, Page Cortez, Ronnie Johns and Rick Ward.

They said it: “As we say in Louisiana, you’re as mean as a mama wasp,”—U.S. Sen. John Kennedy to Attorney General nominee Bill Barr on CNN.  

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.   

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