Add Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., to the list of potential challengers to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014.
Boustany's campaign declined to say whether the congressman is actively looking at the race, but noted that "many local officials and community leaders approached Congressman Boustany to voice their support for a Boustany Senate candidacy" during recent Mardi Gras events in Washington. According to a campaign spokesman Neal Patel, "The Congressman is committed to providing conservative leadership and getting real results for South Louisiana."
"With supporters from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Shreveport to South Louisiana, Congressman Boustany continues to reflect on his substantial 22 point victory just two months ago," Patel said, in an e-mail.
That's a clear reference to former Rep. Jeff Landry, R-La., who has also been mentioned for the seat. Boustany beat Landry decisively in a member-vs.-member runoff last December after the two were drawn into the same district; the Pelican State lost a seat following reapportionment. That campaign left Landry with little money and a few burned bridges with state Republicans, giving some pause as to whether he could mount a serious challenge to Landrieu.
Other Republicans with their eyes on Landrieu's seat include Reps. John Fleming and Bill Cassidy. Cassidy's campaign said he was "honored" by the support he's receiving from Louisianans. Cassidy recently traveled outside of his own congressional district to give speeches in conservative Metarie and Slidell, prompting speculation that he may pursue a bid.
Cassidy had a whopping $2.03 million on hand at the end of December, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, putting him within range of Landrieu, who reported $2.53 million. Boustany, meanwhile, had just over $190,000, while Fleming reported about $481,000 in the bank.
"The fact that these conversations are happening so early in the cycle shows a deep level of discontent with President Obama and Senate Democrats," Cassidy campaign spokesman John Cummins said, in an email.
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise has also been mentioned as a possible contender but is keeping mum on his intentions. "He is focused on his current job of representing Louisiana’s First Congressional District and is honored to be the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee," Scalise's communications director, Stephen Bell, said in an email.
Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was floated for the seat early on, but his office confirmed to On Call that he has definitely taken a pass on the race. Jindal is prevented from running for another term as governor in 2015 and is thought to have his eye on a presidential bid.
Landrieu is vulnerable moving into 2014. She has never topped 52 percent since being elected to the Senate and is currently the only statewide-elected Democrat in Louisiana. Additionally, Landrieu has taken some unpopular votes since her 2008 reelection, including voting in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Without Obama at the top of the ticket this time around to help bring Democrats to the polls, Republicans have their eyes on her seat.
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