Count New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu out of Louisiana’s 2016 U.S. Senate race.
Amid what was reported to be a heavy push to recruit the mayor, a Democrat, to seek the seat that Republican David Vitter has announced he will vacate after next year, Landrieu told the political newsletter LaPolitics.com that he will not be running.
“I am honored and blessed to be the mayor of one of the world’s great cities,” Landrieu said in a statement, pointing to a reduced murder rate and infrastructure improvements, among other accomplishments. “But my work here in New Orleans is not yet done. In this time of unique challenges for our city and our state, I believe I can best serve our people by finishing the job I started 51/2 years ago.”
By staying as mayor, Landrieu also is in line to preside over the city’s tricentennial celebration in 2018.
Vitter announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate as he conceded the governor’s race to John Bel Edwards last month.
Republicans already had been lining up to run for the seat on the assumption that Vitter would be elected governor.
U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming have said they would be interested in running for the seat if Vitter is not in the race. Speculation also has focused on Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel from Madisonville who ran unsuccessfully in the 2014 Senate race; state Rep. Paul Hollis, of Covington; and state Treasurer John Kennedy. But Edwards’ victory has created new hope among Democrats that the right candidate in the right election can win a statewide seat in heavily Republican Louisiana. Landrieu’s name had been floated as a potential candidate in that race even though his sister, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, lost her bid for a fourth term just two years ago.
Speculation about the mayor was stoked briefly when, during an Edwards rally shortly before the election, Landrieu stopped short of explicitly ruling out a run when asked.
The news that he would definitely not run came as Landrieu was headed to Paris to participate in a summit for local leaders that’s being held in conjunction with an international conference on climate change.
The summit is part of the Compact of Mayors, a coalition launched at the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit aimed at securing promises from local officials to cut greenhouse gas emissions in their cities.
In a news release, Landrieu said the conference will help “to ensure that the voices of local leaders are heard, and city efforts, like New Orleans’, are recognized, during the international negotiation process, in order to reach a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively.”
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.