Louisiana doesn’t cast a ballot for governor until late October and we already have a candidate preparing to run for David Vitter’s U.S. Senate seat. Congressman Charles Boustany is telling donors that he will be running for the U.S. if Vitter is elected governor.
National Journal reports that Boustany made the comments in a fundraiser last month in Lafayette.
Rep. Charles Boustany told supporters at a June fundraiser that he plans to run for the Senate in 2016 if Sen. David Vitter’s 2015 gubernatorial run is successful, a donor toldNational Journal, and Boustany has hired an experienced Senate campaign manager to helm his political operation.
Boustany, a Louisiana Republican, has not publicly announced his Senate intentions, though in recent months he has taken steps that could be groundwork for a run if Vitter vacates his seat. But Donna Pelletier, the president of the Republican Women’s Club in Acadiana, said that Boustany recently revealed his 2016 plans before a large Republican audience.
“The other night at the fundraiser he, at the podium, did announce that he is in fact going to be seeking the Senate seat when David Vitter wins,” said Pelletier, who plans to support Boustany. “I was really surprised when he actually came out and confirmed that he was actually going to run, because he’s been very coy about it.”
Boustany’s campaign confirmed that the fundraiser, a gathering of his closest friends and supporters at his mother’s home in Lafayette, was the first time he’d laid out his plans for an audience. However, he’s been discussing the possibilities with supporters across the state for the past several months.
“We’re not going to get ahead of the governor’s race. That has to play out; we’ll see how it goes,” Boustany told the gathering of about 250 supporters, according to a transcript provided by his campaign. “But the fact is you cannot wait to make plans. Your support is vital for all of this.”
Boustany is not the only Republican looking at Vitter’s Senate seat. Congressman John Fleming and state Treasurer John Kennedy, the Republican nominee against Mary Landrieu in 2008, are also looking at the race.
Boustany would represent the “establishment wing” of the GOP whereas Fleming, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, would represent the conservative grassroots. Boustany would have the backing of the NRSC and the big donors while Fleming would likely have the backing of Tea Party groups.
While it is very early, Boustany has a little over $700,000 in his campaign account. However, he has not released his second quarter fundraising numbers.
Fleming also hasn’t reported his second quarter numbers, but he had a little over $1.4 million in his campaign account. Kennedy has in his state campaign account a little over $3.5 million. While Kennedy cannot use his state campaign account to fund a Federal office bid, he can use his state donors as a base for a Federal bid.
Boustany’s best chance in a Senate race with Kennedy and Fleming is to simply make the runoff and hope his opponent is Fleming. His geographic Acadiana base is larger than Fleming’s north Louisiana base. Boustany should be able to raise money much easier than Fleming.
Even against Kennedy, Boustany would love his chances. Kennedy hasn’t won a race for anything more powerful than his current position. It’s hard to see that changing against a seasoned politician like Boustany.
Either way. Boustany would have to be seen as in the cat bird seat, if not the front runner.