BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A week after securing his reelection to the U.S. Senate, Republican Sen. John Kennedy said Monday that he is “giving serious consideration” to entering the 2023 Louisiana governor's race.
In a statement, Kennedy said he will be announcing “soon” whether he will run for governor or not.
Current Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, is unable to seek a third consecutive term due to term limits — opening a huge opportunity for Republicans to take control of the state’s highest ranking position. Even though the state legislature is dominated by Republicans, Louisiana is the only state in the Deep South with a Democrat for governor.
“I’ve spent my life and career serving the people of Louisiana,” Kennedy said in a news release. “But we can’t deny that our great state is facing serious challenges. To meet those challenges, Louisiana families deserve a governor who can lead our state and help solve our toughest problems.”
Kennedy’s statement comes less than a week after he easily clinched a second six-year Senate term, fending off 12 challengers and avoiding a runoff. The senator has proven 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.
“Over the last year, Louisianians have asked me time and time again to come home to serve as governor during these difficult times,” Kennedy said Monday.
The highly anticipated 2023 gubernatorial race is expected to attract multiple strong GOP candidates, but so far only Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has officially announced his bid. Landry, a conservative Republican and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, has already received an early endorsement from the Louisiana Republican Party last week — an announcement that sparked outrage from potential candidates who have yet to officially throw their hats into the ring.
A list of Republicans interested in the governor’s seat is slowly growing, with the election just 11 months away.
Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser confirmed to reporters in August that he plans to join the race and hit the campaign trail in 2023. Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder told supporters in January he also plans on running for governor.
Along with Kennedy, other Republicans who have indicated that they are considering running for the state’s highest position are U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves and state Sen. Hewitt.
It remains unclear who will emerge as a Democratic candidate.
Sara Cline, The Associated Press