Sen. Kennedy seeks re-election; Democratic Party-endorsed candidates hope to force a runoff

Kennedy did not consent to an interview with FOX 8 on his re-election bid
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 8:50 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana voters will decide whether U.S. Senator John Kennedy, a Republican, is re-elected to another term in office. The Louisiana Democratic Party has endorsed three candidates, in hopes of blocking the incumbent’s re-election.

FOX 8 spoke to those Democrats, Gary Chambers, Luke Mixon and Syrita Steib. But Kennedy did not consent to an interview for this story on the senate race.

Sen. John Kennedy and the three Democratic Party challengers, Gary Chambers, Luke Mixon and...
Sen. John Kennedy and the three Democratic Party challengers, Gary Chambers, Luke Mixon and Syrita Steib.(Source: WVUE)

In an October 25, 2022, email to FOX 8, a Kennedy campaign staffer wrote, “The senator’s schedule is packed until the election. If something changes and we can make this work, I’ll circle back.”

And hours before the story aired on FOX 8 on Thursday (Nov. 3) FOX 8 again contacted Kennedy’s camp and was told he was not available for an interview.

Kennedy has raised millions of dollars and is running TV ads critical of President Biden and Democratic policies.

In one ad he says, “I said I wouldn’t back down, I haven’t, look I don’t hate anyone but I also don’t care what others think of me, except dogs, I like dogs.”

Chambers, Mixon, and Steib did agree to be interviewed about the race.

All criticized Kennedy and said voters should fire the incumbent.

Chambers is an entrepreneur and social justice advocate.

“We rank number 48 in education, 46th in health care, 47 in opportunity, 50 in crime, John Kennedy gets on TV and talks about crackheads and crime rather than offering solutions to the people of Louisiana,” said Chambers.

Luke Mixon, is a military veteran who flew fighter planes. He now works as a commercial airline pilot.

“Because he’s not representing our state, he’s representing himself. He represents our state poorly, he represents our nation poorly. We saw that on two distinct examples, we saw that on January 6th when he was one of six United States senators who voted to overturn our election results when he spit in the face of our democracy,” said Mixon.

Steib founded and leads Operation Restoration, a non-profit which focuses on current and formerly incarcerated women and girls.

“He consistently votes against the best interest of the state of Louisiana, he votes against infrastructure, he votes against our veterans,” she said.

Mixon and Chambers also slammed Kennedy for not supporting the bipartisan $1T infrastructure package which is now law. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican, helped craft the infrastructure deal.

“An infrastructure bill that provides better roads and bridges, clean water and drainage, internet access to rural Louisiana and storm protection for all of us, he voted against all of it, he called it wasteful spending and stupid stuff,” said Mixon. “I’ve traveled the state, I’ve spoken to tens of thousands of people, exactly zero people have told any of that is stupid.”

Chambers said, “He’s voted against the policies that would actually help us create jobs, help us fix infrastructure, help us be able to deal with inflation.”

The Democratic Party endorsed candidates talked about their priorities, if elected.

Mixon rapidly ticked off what he would focus on.

“Our campaign is pretty simple, our campaign is about standing up for Louisiana families, that means ensuring everyone has a safe community to live in by reducing crime, it means that we reduce the cost of gas and groceries but healthcare as well by preserving the Affordable Care Act and then ensuring that we have high-quality jobs in Louisiana,” said Mixon.

Steib said, “My first priority would definitely be to focus on reproductive rights, I think that this country has placed an attack on reproductive rights of women in this country, I would definitely start there and then also address issues of the economy.”

Chambers said there are other issues he would like to tackle.

“We’ve got to have a real solution to the opportunity gap that exists in Louisiana, we’ve got to figure out how do we find the resources to help build stronger education, we’ve got to make sure that we don’t turn away resources from the federal level to help us create jobs, we’ve got to figure out what are future jobs for our state, we can’t just rely on oil and gas.,” said Chambers.

The candidates were asked if they would vote to cut Social Security or Medicare.

Steib answered, “I would not vote to cut Medicare or Social Security at all.”

Chambers responded, “Never.”

And Mixon said, “Absolutely not and again, I’m glad you asked that question because it’s a distinct reminder of when people tell you what they’re going to do believe them, and right now the Republican Party is continuing to say that they will cut or defund Social Security and Medicare.”

Questions about Social Security and Medicare come up each election cycle. This week some other candidates told FOX 8 they too would not vote to cut the programs.

Republican Dan Lux is challenging Congressman Troy Carter, a Democrat.

“No,” Lux said on any possibility of cutting the programs.

And Carter said, “Absolutely not.”

Earlier this year, the Republic Study Committee’s Blue Print to Save America report said, “...the RSC Budget proposes a Medicare reform plan that would ensure the programs survival while protecting benefits for those in or near retirement. The RSC Budget’s reforms would modernize and strengthen health care coverage for America’s seniors by making Medicare more efficient. While the current top-down, one-size-fits-all approach does not give seniors the access and choices they deserve, the RSC Budget would provide seniors with more control and flexibility over their healthcare future. This budget would ensure the survival of the Medicare program for current and future generations and would not institute any changes in the program until 2025.”

However, a summary page of House Republicans’ policy agenda called “The Commitment to America says that plan would “Save and strengthen Social Security and Medicare” but does not mention cuts.

On the abortion debate, none of the three-Democratic Party endorsed candidates would back a federal abortion ban.

Chambers said, “No, I would not support a federal abortion ban, I believe that we need to make sure that we codify Roe.”

Steib said, “Absolutely not.”

And Mixon said, “We must fight back against extremism and like I’ve said before I would vote to codify Roe to ensure that we protect women’s health care.

They hope to force Kennedy into a runoff.

“That is the only option for us is to force him into a runoff. We are the lead polling Democrat by every independent poll. We believe that Kennedy is vulnerable,” said Chambers. “We just need people to show up and show him that his eviction is on the way.”

Steib also thinks Kennedy is vulnerable.

“I don’t necessarily know if people are excited about him running,” said Steib. “So for me, I know that he’s vulnerable, I know that we have a shot and we have a chance to take him out, we just need for everyone to show up on November 8th.”

Mixon believes there will be a runoff.

“Senator Kennedy is attacking me by name now and he knows he’s vulnerable,” said Mixon. “The night of Nov. 8th we’re going to find there’s going to be a runoff between John Kennedy and Luke Mixon.”

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