Rep. John FlemingJohn Calvin FlemingOvernight Energy: Watchdog opens investigation into Interior chief | Judge halts Pruitt truck pollution rule decision | Winners, losers in EPA, Interior spending bill amendments Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Coast Guard suspends search for missing Ohio plane MORE (R-La.) will run for Senate to fill the seat of retiring Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterSenate panel advances Trump nominee who wouldn't say if Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly Planned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge MORE (R-La.), Fleming announced on Monday.

"Let me be very candid with you: I believe America is much better than the leadership we have in Washington," Fleming says in a video kicking off his campaign.


"We have too many in Washington that are all-too-willing to just go along with the status quo and not make any waves."

Fleming emphasizes his background in the Navy and as a physician in bashing President Obama as "weak on national defense" and saying the president’s healthcare plan is "nothing short of a disaster."

While noting that "there is more blame to go around," Fleming also chides "self-proclaimed reformers who talk a good game when they are at home, but are nowhere to be found when it's time for action.

"As a member of Congress, I not only fought the liberals in Washington, I also fought the leadership of my own party when they were all too willing to compromise on our conservative principles," he says.

"It is with this hope for a brighter future, a stronger and safer country, and the restoring of the American dream for every hard-working Louisiana family that I announce that I am a candidate for the United States Senate."

Fleming jumps into what could be a crowded field looking to replace Vitter, who lost a bid for governor last month in the first statewide victory for Democrats since 2008. Vitter surprised many by announcing in his concession speech that he'd retire at the end of 2016. A source with knowledge of Flemings's plan told The Hill last month that the congressman would jump in over the next few weeks.

So far, fellow Republican Rep. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyLobbying world Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response Americans worried about retirement should look to employee ownership MORE Jr. (La.) is the only other declared candidate in the race. But State Treasurer John Kennedy, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and former Air Force Col. Rob Maness have been floated as potential candidates on the Republican side.

Angelle came in third in last month's gubernatorial open primary, while Maness ran for the GOP Senate nomination in 2014.

No Democratic candidate has announced a bid yet and the party is facing long odds despite future Gov. John Bel Edwards's recent win.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D), the brother of former Sen. Mary LandrieuMary Loretta LandrieuLobbying world Former New Orleans mayor: It's not my 'intention' to run for president Dems grasp for way to stop Trump's Supreme Court pick MORE, has decided against a bid.