Washington – U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, of Lafayette, and John Fleming, of Minden, announced Monday that they will make announcements soon about their plans for the U.S. Senate election in 2016.
Boustany, first elected to Congress in 2004, and Fleming, first elected in 2008, said earlier they intended to run for the Senate if incumbent Republican David Vitter, of Metairie, was not seeking re-election. Vitter lost the governor’s race Saturday and said he would not try for a third term in the Senate next year.
Boustany, 59, is a cardiovascular surgeon. Fleming, 64, is a family physician.
No one has officially announced for the Senate. At least one other Republican, state Treasurer John Kennedy, is considered a likely candidate.
Boustany has raised nearly $2 million for his 2016 House re-election campaign, and Fleming has taken in $1.5 million (including $525,000 in a personal loan to his campaign). In both cases, those amounts could be rolled into a Senate campaign.
Kennedy has nearly $3 million in a state campaign account left over from his easy re-election in the October primary. That money cannot be transferred directly to a federal campaign, but it could be funneled to an existing Kennedy-aligned independent political action committee, or super PAC, that could spend it to elect him to the Senate.
Another potential Republican candidate is retired Air Force Col Rob Maness, of Madisonville, who finished third in the open primary in the 2014 U.S. Senate election as a tea-party candidate. Maness has continued to play a role in politics through a super PAC called GatorPAC.