BATON ROUGE, La. – With Louisiana's highly anticipated gubernatorial race less than a year away, both of the state's U.S. senators say they have considered running for governor and plan on announcing their decisions soon, possibly in the coming days.
During a routine press call Tuesday, Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy told reporters that he considered the gubernatorial race, hasmade a decision and will “make that announcement later this week," The Advocate reports. Cassidy’s comment comes a day after Louisiana’s other senator and fellow Republican, John Kennedy, made a similar statement.
“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 in a statement Monday. "(My wife) 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.”
Cassidy was first elected to congress in 2015 and easily won reelection in 2020. Last week, Kennedy clinched a second six-year Senate term while fending off 12 challengers and avoiding a runoff.
Both Cassidy and Kennedy have millions in campaign funds on hand — Cassidy with $2.9 million and Kennedy with $13.6 million, according to the Federal Elections Commission — as a result of money raised while running for federal office. The money can be used by political action committees supporting their candidacies for a state office.
The 2023 gubernatorial race is expected attract several strong GOP candidates because term limits prevent current Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, from seeking a third straight 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 only Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has officially announced his bid. A conservative Republican and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, Landry has already received an early endorsement from the Louisiana Republican Party — an announcement last week that sparked outrage from potential candidates who have yet to officially throw their hats into the ring.
A list of other Republicans interested in the governor’s seat is slowly growing.
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. U.S. Rep. Garret Graves and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt have also indicated that they are considering the contest for the state’s highest position.
But so far, it remains unclear who will emerge as a Democratic candidate.