U.S. Sen. David Vitter will run for governor of Louisiana next year, according to an announcement on his website.
In December, Vitter previewed his announcement in an email saying, "Many good friends and supporters have encouraged me to run for Governor in 2015 — to bring my focus and leadership to the challenges we face as a state. We started to consider this as a family over Thanksgiving. We certainly haven't made our decision yet, so we'll be reflecting and praying on it very carefully through the Christmas holidays. "
Last year, Gambit reported on the junior senator's rise to GOP power as to Gov. Bobby Jindal seemingly eyes politics beyond Louisiana: "Louisiana may have a powerful governorship held by a man re-elected less than two years ago with 66 percent of the vote, but in many ways Vitter, not Jindal, already has become the de facto leader of the state's GOP." A November 2013 poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research found Vitter has a 58 percent approval rating among Louisianans.
Previously announced candidates for governor are current Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, a Republican, and State Rep. John Bel Edwards, an Amite Democrat. The election will be held in November 2015.
Update: Here's a portion of his announcement letter, from The Hayride:
I believe that as our next Governor, I can have a bigger impact addressing the unique challenges and opportunities we face in Louisiana . . . helping us truly reach our full potential.
We’ll do this by building excellence in K-12 and higher education, offering every child in Louisiana the skills to compete effectively and achieve his or her dreams. We’ll do it by making Louisiana more attractive to vibrant businesses, growing the good-paying jobs we need today and tomorrow. We’ll do it by reforming taxes and spending, spurring economic growth and creating budget stability.
And through it all, we’ll do it by fighting political corruption and demanding government reform and accountability. That’s a battle I’ve long waged. The difference is I’ll have so many more tools as Governor to do things right and protect taxpayer dollars.
Although an active campaign is still a year away, I’ll start preparing for it immediately by doing what I’ve always done, including as our U.S. Senator. That’s listening to you, knowing that I sure don’t have all the answers.
I’ve held over 342 in-person town hall meetings, 128 telephone town halls, and countless other meetings in every parish of our state. I’ll continue those travels starting tomorrow, listening directly to Louisiana families about what most concerns them.
And then, after Listening and Learning, I will LEAD. Because I’m running to take on the important issues and make the hard decisions, not to avoid them or play politics with them.
This will be my last political job, elected or appointed, period. So my only agenda will be to do what’s best for all Louisianians, from our best and brightest to our most vulnerable.
Wendy and I value your friendship, support, and prayers so much. Please continue to bless us with those gifts.