Call this the first shots fired in the 2019 governor’s race. U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) has called for the resignation of Governor John Bel Edwards.
Senator John Kennedy called for Governor John Bel Edwards’ resignation on KPEL radio in Acadiana Monday.
Kennedy said he’s tired of the governor blaming the former governor, Bobby Jindal, and the legislature for the state’s fiscal problems. Then he said Republican Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser should take over the governorship, although Nungesser has supported the governor’s proposals to close the budget hole.
Kennedy called Edwards’ solutions for the fiscal cliff “tax and spend,” and argued the governor is too liberal for Louisiana. Democrats and the administration argue an extension of a portion of the state sales tax is necessary to fund services they call “essential.”
“Governor Edwards isn’t going to be distracted by childish comments or letters from our junior senator,” said the governor’s spokesperson, Richard Carbo, in a statement. “You don’t see this kind of behavior from other elected officials because they’re busy doing their jobs.”
Well, it’s probably safe to say that Kennedy is running for governor in 2019. Otherwise, he wouldn’t take such a bold shot at Edwards.
Kennedy’s remarks are sure to fire up the conservative base right before the beginning of the special session on Monday. It could also inspire some Republican lawmakers to develop some steel in their spines.
Kennedy’s broadside could also have another impact. He could be trying to discourage other Republicans from entering the governor’s race. He knows that a crowded Republican field would be to Edwards’ benefit.
All in all, Kennedy’s comments are more for laying the groundwork for 2019 than to actually influence policy in 2018. After all, unfortunately, John Bel Edwards isn’t going anywhere until he leaves office after his re-election defeat on January 1, 2020.