Louisiana state Treasurer John N. Kennedy, a self-described “political misfit,” holds a large lead in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. David Vitter, according to a new poll, significantly outperforming two House members who gave up their seats to run.
Thirty-two percent of respondents to the survey conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research in late May said they would vote for Kennedy, a Republican, if the election were held then, compared to 10.1 percent for Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., and 5.2 percent for Rep. John Fleming, who are also Republicans.
Louisiana conducts a “jungle primary” in which candidates run in the same race regardless of political party. If no one wins a majority of votes in November, the top two finishers will meet in a runoff.
Boustany is in second place in the poll and Fleming fourth in the eight-candidate field, according to the survey of 500 likely voters.
The highest polling Democrat is Foster Campbell, a member of the state’s Public Service Commission, who pulled in 9.2 percent for third place.
Boustany and Fleming announced their campaigns within weeks of Vitter’s decision to not seek re-election after he lost the 2015 Louisiana governor’s race.
Kennedy joined the race soon after. He ran for Senate in 2004 as a Democrat and four years later as a Republican.
“Some politicians call me a troublemaker, a misfit, a rebel, a square peg in a round hole, because I’m not part of the club,” he has said previously.