Republican Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) says he is not going to run again for the U.S. Senate after losing in an upset race for governor to Democrat John Bel Edwards.
Vitter made the announcement during an appearance to campaign supporters in the New Orleans suburbs Saturday evening after it became apparent that he would not win the governor’s race.
Vitter, who has one year left in his second U.S. Senate term, told supporters that before entering the governor’s race, he and his wife had decided that he would not seek another term in the Senate.
The news marks a stunning fall for Vitter, who just months ago had been considered the front-runner to replace term-limited Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Republican Billy Nungesser will take over as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor in January, after defeating Democrat Kip Holden in the runoff election.
Nungesser, former president of Plaquemines Parish, coasted to an easy victory Saturday against Holden, after fighting for his spot in the runoff.
Holden spent little on the race, building his campaign on grassroots support and his name recognition after years as mayor of Baton Rouge.
Nungesser’s campaign, meanwhile, spent more than $2 million in the primary alone, building his name recognition in an attack-heavy slugfest with fellow Republican John Young, president of Jefferson Parish.
The lieutenant governor leads Louisiana’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and serves as the figurehead for the state’s $11 billion tourism industry. The job is open because Republican Jay Dardenne ran unsuccessfully for governor.
Democrat John Bel Edwards has won the runoff election for Louisiana governor, defeating the once-heavy favorite, Republican David Vitter, and handing the Democrats their first statewide victory since 2008.
Edwards, a state lawmaker, will take over the office from term-limited Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal in January.
Voters’ rejection of Vitter in the Saturday election was a stunning turn of events for the U.S. senator, who has been a political powerhouse in the state for years and started his campaign nearly two years ago as the race’s front-runner.
Edwards painted the race as a referendum on Vitter’s character and suggested the U.S. senator didn’t measure up in such a competition. Edwards focused on his West Point degree and military resume, and he pledged a bipartisan leadership style.