Claitor is running for Congress

State Sen. Dan Claitor said Wednesday he will run for Congress in the 6th District after deciding he could bring some “reason” back to Washington.

“I’m ready to say that I’m a candidate,” said the 52-year-old Republican from Baton Rouge.

Claitor was leaning against running before receiving the support of his family and seeing that the field of candidates remained wide open.

Louisiana wants their congressional representatives “to talk to one another and work toward solutions,” instead of “throwing temper tantrums when they can’t get their way,” he said.

“Congressional behavior leads me to believe I have something to offer in the way of reason,” Claitor said.

The state senator, who is serving his second term in the Legislature after first being elected in 2009, is a lawyer who has real estate and legal publishing businesses.

A graduate of Lee High School, Claitor grew up in the district and his family operated a bookstore there.

The 6th District seat is being vacated after 2014 because Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is running for the U.S. Senate next year.

Claitor is serving in the state Senate seat that Cassidy once held.

The only candidates who have filed federal candidacy paperwork so far are young Baton Rouge business owner and Republican Paul Dietzel II, Baton Rouge attorney and Republican Cassie Felder, and LaPlace real estate broker and Democrat Richard Dean Lieberman.

First-term East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Councilman Ryan Heck, a Republican, also has announced his plans to run, although he has not yet filed his paperwork.

Norman Clark, a Republican and Navy veteran from Denham Springs who serves on Livingston Parish’s animal control advisory committee, also has said he will run for Congress in 2014.

State Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, also is considering a run.

Arguably the biggest name still pending is former state Rep. Tony Perkins, R-Baker, who spends most of his time in Washington, D.C. as the president of the Family Research Council.

Perkins is not responding to interview requests. But Family Research Council spokesman Darin Miller said Perkins is still “considering” running. “He’s been visiting with and listening to people throughout the district — for example he recently met with 35 pastors in Houma,” Miller said Wednesday in an email response to a request to interview Perkins.

Claitor said in mid-October, he was “strongly disinclined” to enter the race because of the problems and gridlock in Congress. A lot of people think one person cannot make a dent in Congress, he said.

“I don’t believe that,” Claitor said Wednesday. “I believe one man still can make a difference in Washington.”

His youngest child graduates from high school in May and he said his family is backing his decision. Claitor said he thinks he is well positioned to win in the current field of candidates.

Claitor said voters should look at his legislative record. He promised that he give his “full attention” to every piece of legislation Congress considers.

“If nothing else, those that observe the Legislature and my participation know I’m informed and well prepared,” Claitor said.