Louisiana governor’s race takes off early, with crowded field anticipated

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 9:15 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As Republican Senator John Kennedy mulls throwing his hat in the ring for the 2023 Louisiana governor’s race, the field is heating up just days after the nation’s midterm elections.

Kennedy, an incumbent who won re-election to the United States Senate just last week, would be the second Republican to enter the race for the governor’s mansion, but almost certainly not the last.

“Around the rest of the country, folks are talking about the United States Senate. In the state of Louisiana, we’re talking about Day 1 of the governor’s race, just 24 hours after the polls closed,” said Fox 8 political analyst Mike Sherman. “There’s a lot of names being floated out there on the Republican side as gubernatorial candidates.”

Kennedy acknowledged Monday that he’s considering running for governor, saying, “Over the last year, Louisianans have asked me time and time again to come home to serve as governor during these difficult times. Becky and I love the people of Louisiana. We’ve always listened to them, so I am giving serious consideration to entering the governor’s race. I’ll be announcing my decision soon.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry already announced his intention to run, securing the early endorsement of the Louisiana GOP on Monday.

“That is forcing everyone else interested in running for governor to move up their timeline as well,” Sherman said. “That was a challenging strategic move to pull off, and one that may or may not be beneficial in the long run.”

Sherman said other potential Republican candidates, including Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder, took notice of Landry’s move and likely will move up their own announcements.

But Dillard University political analyst Dr. Robert Collins said the endorsement of the state Republican party just doesn’t mean as much in Louisiana, particularly with the state’s jungle primaries.

“The state Republican party central committee doesn’t have any actual power to determine which Republican gets to run in the general election. It’s really more of a suggestion. It really serves more of a public relations function,” Collins said. “We have had the Republican state central committee that has endorsed Republicans early before the primary. And the past three times, the endorsements have not worked.”

Collins said the state GOP’s endorsement of Landry is the earliest he can remember.

“There are a lot of Republican statewide public officials that kind of feel, ‘OK, this isn’t really being fair to us. This isn’t being fair to our supporters,’” he said.

Two-term Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, is term-limited and unable to run again. So far, no Democrats have announced their intention to run for the office.

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