As he competes with other Republicans to position himself for David Vitter's Senate seat next year, Republican Rep. John Fleming has also stepped up his fundraising game.
Fleming, who has said he'll run for Vitter's seat if the incumbent wins his bid for governor this fall, brought in $741,000 in the second quarter of 2015, according to his campaign. That total includes a personal donation from his own funds. A media consultant for the House member would not say how much of Fleming's total for the quarter came out of his own pocket.
Still, that means Fleming is now sitting on more than $2 million in his federal campaign account, all of which could go toward a Senate race. He has never reported raising more than $425,000 in a single campaign period, according to Federal Election Commission records.
And Fleming is not the only Louisiana Republican raising money aggressively ahead of the potential Senate opening: Rep. Charles Boustany, who told donors in June that he is planning a Senate bid of his own if Vitter becomes governor, also raised a personal-best $700,000 in the second quarter of 2015.
If Sen. Vitter becomes Gov. Vitter in the election later this year, he would be able to appoint his own Senate successor, but whoever that is would still have to defend the seat in a 2016 election.
Fleming, a member of the House's conservative Freedom Caucus, considered running against Democratic former Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2014, but he decided against it when Republican Bill Cassidy (then a House colleague) joined the race; Cassidy eventually defeated Landrieu. Fleming told National Journal in April that he would run for Vitter's seat if it was open, regardless of whom Vitter appointed.
Fleming has also secured the services of BrabenderCox, a media consulting firm that also works for Vitter. John Brabender, a longtime consultant to Rick Santorum, wrote in a Monday email to National Journal that Fleming's personal financial contribution to his campaign "shows how serious he is about running for the Senate after David Vitter is elected Governor."