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.”
Perkins, who has known Fleming since he joined the House in 2009, said he considers the congressman a personal friend, and the two of them have worked closely together for years.
The endorsement gives the congressman from northern Louisiana a key advantage in a race that has so far drawn a diverse array of credible candidates, as Republican Sen. David Vitter is retiring. Among Republicans, Fleming faces Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., State Treasurer John Kennedy, and tea party favorite Rob Maness.
On the Democratic side, the candidates are Caroline Fayard and Foster Campbell, who newly elected Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday he supports.
A poll conducted earlier this month by Southe rn Media & Opinion Research, Inc., which surveyed 500 likely voters from February 2-4 on behalf of a group of business leaders, found Kennedy lea ding the field with 22 percent. He was followed by Boustany, with 10 percent, Maness, with 7 percent, and Fleming, with 6 percent.
Louisiana has a top-two system instead of primaries, which means that unless a candidate clears 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, the top two candidates — regardless of party affiliation — face each other in a runoff.