Tony Perkins to Endorse John Fleming in Louisiana Senate Race

Fleming received the endorsement of a top social conservative leader. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Social conservative leader Tony Perkins and his political organization, the Family Research Council Action PAC, will endorse Rep. John Fleming, R-La., in the Louisiana Senate race, he told Roll Call on Friday.  

"He’s a known quantity," said Perkins, who ran for Senate in Louisiana in 2002. "I know exactly what he’s going to do. And it’s going to be good."  

A Democrat Begins Senate Campaign in Louisiana

After Vitter's loss, a number of Republicans and now one Democrat want his seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Third Candidate Joins Louisiana Senate Race

Kennedy has announced his campaign for Senate, joining the race for the Louisiana Senate Seat being vacated by Vitter, above, after his loss in the 2015 governor's race. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

Only a few weeks after Sen. David Vitter lost the 2015 Louisiana governor's race and said he would not seek re-election to the Senate, two other Republicans in the state's congressional delegation — Reps. Charles Boustany Jr., and John Fleming — said they would begin campaigns  to replace him.  

On Tuesday, the two were joined by another, State Treasurer John N. Kennedy, who announced his own, long-awaited bid in the race. If nobody gets more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 8, the race could move into a runoff and be the last Senate contest decided this year.   Kennedy has run for Senate twice before – once in 2004 as a Democrat, and another four years later as a Republican.  

After Vitter's Loss, Louisiana Republicans Seeking Promotions

Fleming was the first, but a number of other ambitious Louisiana Republicans are considering whether they want to move up to Washington through Vitter's loss. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If Republican Sen. David Vitter — whose loss to a Democrat in the Louisiana governor's race last month prompted his announcement that he would not run for re-election — was the first domino to fall, on Monday, he finally knocked over the second one.  

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., officially announced his candidacy for Vitter's now-open seat with a Web video  in which he portrayed himself as a "passionate conservative" who has fought the leadership of his own party. And Fleming could soon be joined in his party's primary by Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., whose spokesman Jack Pandol said he "is planning a formal announcement event in Louisiana" in the coming weeks.  With the two of them looking for a promotion — a move that would require them to free up their seats for the first time in about a decade — more dominoes could fall even further down the ballot as a number of other ambitious Republicans consider whether they want to move up to Washington, D.C.  

Two Lawmakers Say Campaigns for Vitter's Seat Are Coming Soon

Boustany, above, and Fleming say they'll soon make announcements on their plans for Vitter's Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 5 p.m. |  Two days after Republican Sen. David Vitter's defeat in the Louisiana governor's race and his announcement that he would not seek re-election, two Republicans said they were readying campaigns for the seat next year.  

In a statement Monday morning, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., a six-term Republican from southwest Louisiana who had considered a run for Senate in 2014, said a "formal announcement" for 2016 will take place soon near his hometown of Lafayette.  “Louisiana deserves a United States Senator who can lead in times of challenge, offer conservative, workable solutions to complex problems, and bring unity in times of division," he said. "I look forward to outlining my vision for Louisiana and how I intend to help lead our state to the bright future I know lies before us.”  

After Vitter's Loss, Louisiana Republicans Eye His Senate Seat

Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Vitter, center, speaks to reporters after his debate against Democratic candidate John Bel Edwards, in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Even before Republican Sen. David Vitter's announcement that he would not seek re-election next fall after his loss in the Louisiana governor's race  Saturday night, a number of Pelican State Republicans were already looking at his seat.  

Reps. Charles Boustany Jr. and John Fleming, and state Treasurer John Kennedy — all of whom supported Vitter's campaign — had been hoping for an appointment by Vitter in the event he was elected. Now, they will now have to take their ambitions to the voters.   Kennedy, during an interview Saturday night at Vitter's election watch party, shrugged off questions about whether he will run for Vitter's seat.  

Louisiana Campaigns Tread Water Until Vitter's Race

If Vitter is elected Louisiana's next governor, political dominoes there could quickly start to fall. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For a number of ambitious Republicans in Louisiana, a whole lot hinges on the state’s gubernatorial election later this year — and Sen. David Vitter.  

Vitter is one of four candidates facing off in the Pelican State’s “jungle primary” in October. He will be up against two other Republicans and one Democrat in a race that, unless a single candidate gets half the vote, would advance the two top candidates to a runoff in late November. If he ultimately emerges as the victor — and that’s still an "if"— a brand new set of ifs would arise and leave politicians at several levels in Louisiana stuck watching and waiting.  

Senators Confirm Re-Election Bids for 2016

Vitter has announced a bid for governor, leaving the future of his Senate seat in flux in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2016 cycle could feature the fewest open Senate seats in at least a decade.  

Of the 34 senators facing re-election next year, just one has announced retirement . A CQ Roll Call survey of the entire Senate class showed only one more senator publicly undecided about re-election, plus three additional senators considering bids for other offices. Two more Senate offices did not return requests for comment on re-election plans, though Democrats are near certain one of them — Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will seek another term.  

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.