BATON ROUGE — Two Republicans, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, have formalized their plans to run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana, filing federal paperwork for their campaigns.
Boustany, a doctor who has represented southwest Louisiana in Congress since 2005, and Maness, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate last year, have entered their candidacy statements with the Federal Election Commission.
The 2016 election will determine who takes the Senate position being vacated by Republican David Vitter.
Boustany has been an influential member of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, allied with the leadership rather than the tea party contingent of the GOP. Most recently, he was named chairman of the Ways and Means Committee’s tax policy subcommittee.
Maness, a political newcomer when he ran in 2014, came in third for the Senate seat won by Republican Bill Cassidy, who defeated Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu. While his grassroots campaign attracted solid support, Maness couldn’t overcome a fundraising deficit and the GOP’s backing of Cassidy.
Maness is expected to continue his tea party-based approach of criticizing the Washington establishment. Most recently he’s been running a political action committee called GatorPAC, which supports conservative candidates.
“It is clear to me that Louisiana needs a constitutional conservative and fighter in the United States Senate,” Maness said in a statement Wednesday saying he was creating an “exploratory committee” for the race.
“My broad national security and leadership experience is a skill set sorely needed by our state to protect our citizens, and my commitment to principle is what’s needed to fight the Washington Cartel,” he said.
The competition for an open Senate seat is expected to attract several contenders.
Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming, who represents northwest Louisiana, announced his candidacy earlier this week, with a video posted to his campaign website. Boustany has said he will do a formal announcement soon in his hometown of Lafayette.
Several other GOP politicians are eyeing the job, including Treasurer John Kennedy and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, who ran third in the governor’s race this year.
Maness has little money left in his campaign account after the 2014 race, only $27, according to his latest FEC report. Fleming’s recent fundraising report showed more than $2.3 million cash on hand for a campaign, while Boustany reported nearly $1.5 million.
Vitter decided against seeking a third term after losing the Louisiana governor’s race.
Democratic candidates have been slower to emerge for the race. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has said he won’t run for the Senate seat.