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Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter officially announced Tuesday he will run for governor in 2015. (American Press Archives)

Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter officially announced Tuesday he will run for governor in 2015. (American Press Archives)

Vitter making run for governor

Last Modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:04 AM

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.

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