Kennedy made it clear Monday that he’s at least considering the idea of throwing his hat in the ring in the 2023 gubernatorial election, citing a growing call from his constituents to come home and give it a shot.
“I’ve spent my life and career serving the people of Louisiana,” the senator said in a statement, according to WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge. “Becky and I raised our family here and are so proud to call it home. 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.
“Over the last year, Louisianians 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.”
JUST IN: Sen. John Kennedy says he is giving “serious consideration” to running for governor. He plans to announce his decision soon. A week ago, the LA GOP chose to endorse Attorney General Jeff Landry for governor, who has already announced his intentions to run. pic.twitter.com/smIvFar4rz
— Brooke Buford (@brookebuford) November 14, 2022
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, will leave office after next year because of term limits.
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Kennedy’s polling indicates that likely Louisiana voters want him in charge. A Torchlight Strategies survey found the senator leading a crowd of possible GOP gubernatorial hopefuls.
Survey respondents were asked which state Republican they would choose for the 2023 election. Kennedy garnered 21.7 percent support.
His closest competitor, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, garnered 12.8 percent support.
Rounding out the top three GOP gubernatorial possibilities was Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser with 6.9 percent support. Nungesser hasn’t formally announced his intentions to run, according to KPLC-TV in Lake Charles.
Another U.S. senator, Bill Cassidy, was fourth at 5.8 percent. Cassidy said Tuesday he was also considering entering the race, according to WDSU-TV in New Orleans.
The survey, conducted Nov. 9-12 among 800 likely voters across the state, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.
So far, no Democratic candidates have announced a 2023 run for the governor’s mansion.
One potential hangup, as Politico noted, is that the Louisiana Republican Party already has endorsed Landry for the job, which has reportedly angered some of the other current and potential Republican candidates.
Local investigative reporter Sam Karlin reported that the state GOP regretted the early endorsement of Landry, claiming in a statement that it was leaked to the media and was meant to be held until after the 2022 midterms.
.@LAGOP chair Louis Gurvich is upset the early endorsement of Jeff Landry leaked before they wanted to announce it. He sent this message to party members today. #lalege #lagov pic.twitter.com/gqJIBv4NmP
— Sam Karlin (@samkarlin) November 10, 2022
In October, Landry announced his intentions to campaign to be the Pelican State’s next governor.
“We have a crisis of leadership & lack of priorities in Louisiana. It’s causing people to move away from our state, rather than to our state. Unacceptable! Ends now! WE are running for Governor to fix the problems created by failed leaders,” he said in a Twitter post.
We have a crisis of leadership & lack of priorities in Louisiana. It’s causing people to move away from our state, rather than to our state. Unacceptable! Ends now!
WE are running for Governor to fix the problems created by failed leaders.
— Jeff Landry (@JeffLandry) October 5, 2022
According to Ballotpedia, Kennedy, a former Democrat and the Louisiana state treasurer for 17 years, was elected to the Senate as a Republican in 2016.
He easily won re-election to a second six-year term last week, garnering 61.6 percent of the vote to 17.8 percent for his closest challenger, Democrat Gary Chambers Jr.