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U.S. Senator David Vitter to decide on Louisiana governor’s race in January

Vitter tells C-SPAN that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will run for White House in 2016

♦By Rich Shumate,

louisiana mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter says he will decide in January whether to seek Louisiana’s governorship in 2015.

U.S. Senator David Vitter

U.S. Senator David Vitter

“We don’t have any hard deadline in mind, but I would expect we’ll come to a conclusion sometime in January,” Vitter told C-SPAN in a December 19 interview.

“It comes down to one key question …where I think I can make the most positive difference off of the remainder of my political life,” he said.

Vitter also said it is “very obvious” that his state’s current governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, will make a bid for the White House in 2016.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

“I do think he’ll run. I think he’s been running, and I think he’ll be a meaningful and signficant candidate,” said Vitter. However, the senator stopped short of endorsing Jindal, saying he has not yet thought ahead to the 2016 race.

Jindal, 42, elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, is term limited as governor.

Vitter, 52, said regardless of whether he runs for governor or stays in the Senate, it will be the last political office he holds. His Senate term runs until 2016.

Vitter also said he sees a “50-50 or better chance” that Republicans will take control of the Senate in 2014, which would make him the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. However, he said the possibility of gaining the majority won’t be “a determining factor” in deciding whether to stay in the Senate or run for governor.

Because Louisiana holds its state elections in off years, Vitter could pursue the governorship without giving up his Senate seat.

If he runs for governor, Vitter will likely face a intra-party challenge from Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, who has said he is also likely to run for governor and has already set up a campaign Web site.

In Louisiana, Vitter, Dardenne and all other candidates from any party run together in a single primary, with the top two vote getters vying in a runoff if no one gets a majority.

Two Democrats have also announced — Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell from Shreveport and State Rep. John Bel Edwards from Roseland. There has also been speculation that another prominent and popular Democrat, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu might make the governor’s race if he wins re-election in February.

Landrieu is the brother of Vitter’s seatmate in the Senate, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, who is up for re-election in 2014.


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