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Congressman 'Very Interested' in David Vitter's Senate Seat

Fleming in a Louisiana Republican. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., is "very interested" in running for Senate in 2016 if Republican Sen. David Vitter is elected governor next year.  

Louisiana only wrapped up the 2014 Senate race a few days ago, but soon state operatives may start thinking about another race. Vitter has already announced an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2015. If Vitter wins, Fleming said, he wants to succeed him in the Senate.  

"I'm very interested in that possibility," he told CQ Roll Call Tuesday during votes at the Capitol. "I think that we need, you know, Sen. Vitter is quite conservative, and I think we need to replace a good strong conservative with another conservative." The congressman contemplated challenging Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who lost her seat  Saturday to Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La.. But he said he deferred to Cassidy to "simplify the equation."  

"I'm very interested in that and certainly talking with folks back home. I'm getting a very positive response from people," Fleming said of a possible 2016 run. He said he had spoken to Vitter as well.  

"He and I are good friends," Fleming said. "We have a great working relationship. I didn't ask for any commitment, he didn't offer any ... He knows that I'm very engaged in this."  

If Vitter were to win the governor's race in 2015 and step down from the Senate, the governor would be able to appoint his replacement. According to Louisiana's election code , if he were to step down more than a year before the end of his term, that appointment would be temporary, and the governor would schedule a special election. If Vitter stepped down less than a year before the end of his term, there would be no special election and the appointed Senator would serve until the 2016 election.  

"It's very clear that Louisiana is gonna be voting for Republicans for statewide elections going forward because that's just where we are as a state. We're a conservative state, we're a red state, and we need to continue bringing our Louisiana values up here," Fleming said. "And I think that would be a great opportunity for me to do it."  

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