LAFAYETTE, La. – Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said Monday he is giving “serious consideration” to entering the 2023 Louisiana governor’s race and released a poll showing him far ahead of a potentially crowded GOP field.
Kennedy’s announcement comes less than a week after he won reelection to a second six-year term in the Senate in a landslide with 62%.
“I’ve spent my life and career serving the people of Louisiana,” Kennedy said in a statement. “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, Louisianans 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.”
Kennedy’s potential candidacy would elevate what already promised to be a rock fight among Republican heavyweights seeking to replace current Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is term limited and can’t run for reelection.
Louisiana GOP makes its pick
Last week, the Louisiana Republican Party endorsed Attorney General Jeff Landry, drawing sharp criticism from other GOP candidates who accused party leaders of trying to “rig” the 2023 election before everyone is at the gate.
Landry has made the only official announcement, but Republicans Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Treasurer John Schroder have started soft campaigns.
In Kennedy’s poll, he leads the field with 21% of the vote with Landry the nearest Republican at 12.8%.
Democrat Shawn Wilson, who is the current Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development secretary appointed by Edwards, was second in Kennedy’s poll at 18.2%. Wilson has said he is considering the race. No other Democrat has yet emerged.
Poll results for other potential GOP candidates include: Nungesser, 6.9%; U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, 5.8%; Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves, 5.3%; Schroder, 0.6%; and Slidell state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, 0.3%. Lake Charles attorney Hunter Lundy, an Independent who has said he is running, polled at 2.3%.
More than a quarter of respondents, 25.6%, said they are undecided.
In a race with the Democrat Wilson, the poll showed Kennedy with 55.6%, Wilson with 32.2%, and 11.6% undecided.
USA Today is seeking comment from others in or considering the race.
Landry said in a text he will have a statement later Monday.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.
Story Credit: usatoday.com