The race for U.S. Senate already off to a big start

The race for U.S. Senate already off to a big start

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The night U.S. Senator David Vitter lost his bid to become Louisiana's governor, he made it clear he would not seek another term as a senator. Since then, politicians have been lining up to succeed Vitter on Capitol Hill, the latest being State Treasurer John Kennedy.

"I want my country back, I'm afraid we're losing it," said Kennedy.

In an email announcing his candidacy Tuesday, Kennedy fashioned himself as an outsider.

"I try not to be rude, but I speak my mind. 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.  I think I make the right people mad.  My job is to protect taxpayers, not seek the approval of my political peers," he said.

"I see too many undeserving people with connections at the top getting bailouts, and I see too many undeserving people at the bottom getting handouts and the rest of us get the bill and we can't afford it anymore," said Kennedy.

"He's run before but he wasn't successful, so he's trying to attack those weaknesses right away to change his view in the mind of voters who might not have a favorable impression," said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.

Kennedy, a Republican, joins announced candidates Congressmen Charles Boustany of Lafayette, and John Fleming of Minden, both members of the GOP, as well.

"John Kennedy has been in government for decades, and I can tell you that the American people, and the people of Louisiana are really getting tired of life-long politicians," Fleming told FOX 8 News.

He said he knows what Louisianians are looking for in a senator and that he will fight hard for them.

"The kitchen table values of Louisiana to Washington," Fleming said.

"A senator has a great impact on the foreign policy," said Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, who has sought elective office before.

He is expected to formally announce his run for the Senate Wednesday in Kenner. Maness sent out Tuesday about his "major announcement." U.S. military strength and border control are among his top priorities.

"Our borders aren't secure and the illegal immigration problem. We've got to get our borders secure, that is national security," Maness said.

In a statement, Congressman Boustany said: "I'm running for the United States Senate because as a doctor and as a Congressman, I've fought for the people of Louisiana and I've gotten results. I am proud of my record fighting to lift the devastating drilling moratorium, securing record resources for our ports and waterways, protecting our seafood industry from unfair trade practices, and fighting my own party leadership to bring two new veterans clinics to our state. I'll fight for Louisiana in the United States Senate and together, we will turn our economy around and make Louisiana the best place to live, work, and raise a family."

Name recognition is important when running for office, and Fleming said the people in New Orleans will be seeing a lot of him very soon.

"I'm actually moving to New Orleans for the remainder of 2016," Fleming stated.

He said he and his wife plan to make the move to New Orleans in the next two weeks.

"The metro New Orleans area still has a large portion of the state's voters, and keep this in mind, if this ends up being a race between Republicans, whoever can curry favor with those Democratic voters is going to do themselves a service," Sherman said.

Others said to be eyeing the Senate race include Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard. Other Republicans weighing whether to run are Scott Angelle, former Jefferson Parish President John Young and former Congressman Joseph Cao.

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