BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — As the election for Louisiana's next governor creeps closer, all eyes are on Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy.
Potential GOP candidates have indicated that they are awaiting the congressman's decision on whether he will enter next year's race as they consider their own possible gubernatorial bids. Most recently, Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder said in a written statement Thursday that his decision to run for the state's highest position is dependent on Kennedy.
“John Kennedy is the kind of leader I can work with to fix the problems our Great State faces. Should he decide to run, I will run for re-election as Treasurer," Schroder said Thursday. "However, if Senator Kennedy chooses not to run, I plan to announce and pursue the title of Governor in 2023.”
Last month, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told reporters that he planned to meet with Kennedy to hear what his possible gubernatorial plans were before making his own official announcement.
Louisiana’s highly anticipated 2023 gubernatorial race is expected to attract several strong GOP candidates because term limits prevent Gov. John Bel Edwards from seeking a third consecutive term. And though the state Legislature is dominated by Republicans, Louisiana is the only Deep South state with a Democrat for governor, opening a huge opportunity for Republicans hoping to capture the state’s top government post.
Although the election is less than a year away, so far the only person who has announced a bid is Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. A conservative Republican and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, Landry has already received an early endorsement from the Louisiana Republican Party.
In mid-November, Kennedy said he was “giving serious consideration” to a gubernatorial bid and would make an announcement soon. Nearly three weeks have passed since then.
Kennedy, who has mostly provided a safe Senate vote for Republicans and been a strong supporter of Trump, easily won reelection to Congress in November, fending off 12 challengers and securing a second six-year term.
The politician, who was endorsed by Trump, proved to be popular in Louisiana and on Capitol Hill, raising $36 million in his reelection bid — 10 times as much as his Democratic challengers combined.