Cassidy won’t run for La. governor; many others consider the race

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 8:11 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican, ended the speculation over him and the governor’s race on Friday. Cassidy announced that he would not run for the state’s highest office.

Cassidy, the state’s senior U.S. senator, says he is fighting for things on Capitol Hill and wants to see them completed, including an improved national flood insurance program, more funds for coastal restoration, and WEP/GPO, which deals with a person’s Social Security benefits.

While in Louisiana on Friday, Cassidy told reporters his decision not to run for governor was not influenced by his Senate colleague Sen. John Kennedy saying this week he is considering the race or the previous announcement by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry that he is a candidate.

“Not at all, If I had run, I was fairly confident I was going to win, but again I got to get on WEP/GPO, flood insurance and I have to get on more money for coastal restoration,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy, who was re-elected to another six-year term in 2020, said he will have other important work on a Senate committee.

“I’m going to be a ranking member on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension which is one of the most important subcommittees or committees I should say on health, education, labor, and pensions,” said Cassidy. “And so I think I can also benefit our state and our country from that position as well.”

FOX 8′s political analyst Mike Sherman weighed in on Cassidy’s decision to skip the governor’s race.

“Bill Cassidy has surprisingly become a mega-dealmaker and powerful U.S. senator, one of those few who are reaching across party lines to make big deals for America and for Louisiana--not surprising that he’s going to stay put rather than get in a grueling governor’s race.”

Some pundits believe Cassidy, who voted to convict President Donald Trump over the January 6 insurrection and also helped to craft the $ 1t trillion bipartisan infrastructure package would have appealed to independents and some Democrats.

Cassidy goes along with that assumption.

“I do agree with that, you know, I will represent everybody nobody who they are,” he said.

But Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins, Ph.D. thinks Cassidy may have had difficulty solidifying himself as the moderate Republican in the governor’s race.

“I think he was going to have issues positioning himself as the moderate because there’s already a moderate, or we expect that a moderate is going to announce and that moderate is going to be Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser,” said Collins.

Besides Kennedy and Landry other Republicans have stated their interest in running for governor.

Nungesser responded to FOX 8 about the race and his intentions.

He said, “I’m taking a poll on December 10th and I will make an announcement on January 10th.”

State Treasurer John Schroder says he is “absolutely considering” the race and that he will make a decision by January 12.

And State Sen. Sharon Hewitt is also pondering the race and says she will make an announcement in January.

Some Democrats are also looking seriously at running for governor.

State Sen. Gary Smith of Norco says he is encouraged by supporters and friends and is “seriously considering the race.”

And Shawn Wilson, Ph.D., who leads the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, told FOX 8, “I am considering the race; that’s driven by the fact that I haven’t seen anyone who could do as good or a better job as I.”

He also said he would be prayerful and thoughtful about a run would mean for the state and his family.

Collins noted that Louisiana is a deep red state. Governor John Bel Edwards is a Democratic but his term-limited and cannot run for the office again.

“I do believe there will be some Democrats that run whether or not they will be strong enough to make it into a runoff,” said Collins.

Since the field is not set, Cassidy is not ready to make an endorsement.

“But it’s going to be a Republican, and I just want to make sure that, I’ll support whomever, seems like that person has got the best vision for our state, that kind of where are we going to be in 10, 15 and 20 years?” Cassidy stated.

Sherman thinks Kennedy would have an advantage should he run.

“He’s run statewide multiple times and upwards of $15 million in the bank to start with, he’d be a formidable force and probably the frontrunner if he got in,” said Sherman.

The State GOP has endorsed Landry in the race which is drawing criticism.

Which Cassidy said, “If there was ever kind of the self-selected few trying to make a decision for several million voters that was it, and of course, I’m always disappointed when self-selected few attempt to impose their wishes on everybody.”

Collins said that endorsement has not proven to be very consequential in the recent past.

“As we’ve seen from recent history over the past 20 years or so getting the endorsement of the Republican State Central Committee does not really have an effect, we have no evidence that it has an effect because in recent history the candidates that have received it early it has not really helped their campaign. They have not gone on to become governor.”

Voters have just participated in the mid-term election and the holidays are approaching, so Sherman thinks voters have a lot of other things on their minds besides the governor’s race.

“It would be smart for candidates to look at an early January announcement and not try to get that message lost in the excitement of the holidays, there’s a lot of voter fatigue out there,” said Sherman.

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