Sen. Vitter running for governor; wants to tackle big issues - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Vitter says he wants to tackle the big issues during run for governor

Sen. David Vitter discusses his run for governor at FOX 8 Studios Tuesday afternoon. Sen. David Vitter discusses his run for governor at FOX 8 Studios Tuesday afternoon.

NEW ORLEANS, LA. - U.S. Sen. David Vitter has ended the speculation about whether he will seek the state's top job. Vitter, a Republican, announced online that he will run for governor.

And just hours after the email announcement, Vitter sat down for a one-on-one interview at the FOX 8 News studios Tuesday afternoon.

"I really decided that I could have a bigger personal impact in a positive way as our next governor" he said. "We face a lot of challenges and opportunities in Louisiana, exciting opportunities, and I really want to tackle those with a lot of other folks' help to help us reach our full potential."

He said education, the state's budget woes, tax reform and economic development are top priorities.

"Education, both K through 12 and higher education - higher ed has had some rough years in terms of the budget, stabilizing the budget," Vitter said. "I think we need to do that through tax reform and spending reform."

"It's going to be a tough contest, but you have to give Vitter the advantage," said UNO Political Scientist Ed Chervenak, Ph.D. "He has almost universal name recognition, he's got a pro-Vitter Super PAC out there that's raised $1.5 million for him, and he also has relatively high approval ratings."

Senior state Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, commented on Vitter's announcement after touring the Port of New Orleans.

"Well, I say the people are going to have to decide it," she said. "I'm hoping that they will choose someone that will advance the economic interests of the state as opposed to political interests, which I think is unfortunately what Gov. Jindal has done."

"I assume she's probably trying to attach Sen. Vitter to Gov. Jindal to basically help promote the Democratic candidates, so no surprise there," Chervenak said.

When Vitter was asked about Landrieu's statement, he replied, "I can tell you I'm David Vitter. I'm not Bobby Jindal. I'm running for this office as my last political job, elected or appointed - period - to take on the key challenges we have in the state."

And as Vitter prepares for the race, he doesn't seem fazed by the prospect of other candidates bringing up his 2007 confession to a "serious sin."

"Look, it's a free country," he said. "They can talk about whatever they want. I know what I'm going to be focused on, which is the key challenges we face as a state."

Other Republicans are eyeing the governor's race. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said he plans to run. State Treasurer John Kennedy is also said to be considering the race. On the Democratic side, state Sen. John Bel-Edwards is also mentioned as a possible candidate.

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