Vitter making run for governor

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

After months of speculation, Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter officially announced on Tuesday that he will run for governor

in 2015.

“Let me first assure you, this decision will in no way limit the critical work I’m doing today in the U.S. Senate. Representing

you and your family will continue to be my top priority,” Vitter said in an email to supporters.

“But I believe that as our next governor, I can have a bigger impact addressing the unique challenges and opportunities we

face in Louisiana ... helping us truly reach our full potential.”

Vitter’s priorities in office will be

“building excellence in K-12 and higher education” and “making Louisiana

more attractive

to vibrant businesses.” He also hopes to reform taxes and

spending, “spurring economic growth and creating budget stability.”

Vitter urged supporters this will be his “last political job, elected or appointed, period.” He added that “an active campaign

is still a year away.”

Others considering running for governor are Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, chairman of

the House Democratic Caucus. Republican Treasurer John Kennedy is also rumored to run.

Vitter was elected to a second term in the U.S. Senate amid a prostitution scandal that he later called a “serious sin.” Vitter

was associated with the “D.C. Madam” case in 2007, but he has publicly avoided questions about whether he broke the law.

Michael Kurth, Republican Roundtable chairman, said that while he is not endorsing a candidate yet, he thinks the Republican

Party needs to be unified because there are multiple GOP candidates running.

“I hope this race does not turn negative,” he said.

Bob Dewey, past co-chairman of the

Republican Roundtable, said Vitter’s announcement is not surprising

since he’s not forced

to resign his seat because he’s running in an odd year. The

federal elections are in an even year, “so he has nothing to lose

by running for governor.”

“He is a very popular man and could be a formidable candidate,” he said. “Each one of the candidates have their positives.

I would be reluctant to endorse anyone this early on.”

Ruxton B. Istre of Carlyss said that if

Vitter leaves the U.S. Senate, “the good people of Louisiana need to

get another conservative

voting Senator in office.”

Trudy Douget of Lake Charles said Vitter won’t get her vote. “God help us,” she said.

“My comments would not just be toward

Vitter but it would probably be for any candidate running for office

already being in

the political arena,” said Geralyn Simon of Lake Charles. “I would

ask Vitter what has he already done to help the state of

Louisiana — that’s my feelings about people who want to jump from

one position to another.”

Simon’s concern is that Louisiana often falls to the bottom rung of the ladder in many polls.

“If we’re electing such a good group of

elected officials, then why are we still at the bottom in regards to

virtually everything

in a socioeconomic situation?” Simon said. “We seem to always fall

short, and that concerns me. We have to change the politics

of the past in order to move into the future.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.