BATON ROUGE (AP) — A super PAC that is supporting Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter has raised more than $750,000 that could bolster a re-election bid or a possible gubernatorial campaign, a founder of the organization said Thursday.
Charlie Spies, treasurer for The Fund for Louisiana's Future, said the pro-Vitter political action committee will report its fundraising to federal elections officials on Friday. The money, raised since the PAC's creation in January, comes from more than 150 donors, he said.
The dollars will be spent to independently advocate for Vitter in either the 2015 governor's race or the 2016 Senate race.
"We're doing much better than I ever would have expected. To raise over $750,000 more than two years out from the first potential election or three years from a Senate re-election is far surpassing any internal target that we had," said Spies, chief lawyer for prior Vitter campaigns and co-founder of the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
Vitter, in his second Senate term, hasn't said whether he intends to run for governor. Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is term-limited, prompting speculation the senator might be a candidate. Vitter, a former state lawmaker, hasn't squelched the speculation.
The political action committee has been formed at both the state and federal levels to allow for the money's use in either race. Spies said the senator's supporters don't yet know if Vitter intends to run for governor.
"We are eagerly watching for any indication," he said.
Only one candidate has announced his intention to run for governor in the race that is still two years away: state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Other Republicans considered possible candidates include Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Treasurer John Kennedy and state Sen. Gerald Long.
Spies said many of the PAC donors were interested in a possible Vitter gubernatorial campaign, but he said they also were pleased with the senator's prominent conservative role on energy and environmental issues in Congress.
Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited funds to help candidates at the federal level. Louisiana has caps that limit individual contributions to PACs to $100,000 for each election cycle.