NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Gov. John Bel Edwards officially announced his reelection bid in a video released to Twitter Monday (Jan. 21), but it was no secret that Edwards planned to seek a second term.
"We are truly better off than we were three years ago, and we’re working hard to make it even better. That’s why I am formally announcing my campaign for reelection,” Edwards said in his online message.
Political observers said there was never any doubt about Edwards’ intentions, and according to FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman, there were few surprises in the governors' announcement.
“No surprises that Gov. Edwards is running for reelection. No surprises in his messaging,” Sherman said. “The only thing that was a surprise is that he really does take us back to the days of Gov. Jindal, a name we haven’t heard [lately] in Louisiana political circles, to try to engender those feelings of a fiscal crisis and stagnation from a few years ago. We’ll see if that sells in Louisiana.”
Robert Collins, a Dillard University political analyst, said Edwards is walking into the election with an advantage.
"He is an incumbent, he has the advantage of incumbency. He has raised a lot of money for his war chest. His polling numbers right now look fairly good for an incumbent Democratic governor in a Republican state, so I think he’s in a very strong position,” Collins said.
So far, two Republicans have announced they will challenge Edwards: Congressman Ralph Abraham and GOP businessman Eddie Rispone.
Both Sherman and Collins said it is very likely that more Republicans will enter the race.
“I would be surprised if the GOP did not recruit other candidates to run,” Collins said. “I think they understand right now that Congressman Abraham is probably not their strongest candidate, because he doesn’t have a base, he doesn’t have name recognition outside of his congressional district.”
Sherman also said the Republican ticket has not yet been finalized.
"You’ve got to think it’s one of the most attractive seats for a Republican to get into the gubernatorial contest, but so far we haven’t seen those heavyweights in the Republican Party step up. I think it’s certain that the Republican field is not yet set this election cycle,” Sherman said.
The governor’s race is expected to attract money from outside the state.
“Without a doubt,” Sherman said. “We’re going to see tremendous interest in national political circles about Louisiana. For Democrats, it’s the question, can someone find a way as a Democrat to win in the deep-south twice? And for Republicans, can they recapture Louisiana’s top post.”
"It would look very bad for the national Republican Party to not be able to knock off a Democratic governor in a very red state,” Collins said.