Not that it would be much of a surprise for Kennedy to make a gubernatorial announcement; it’s been obvious for quite some time that he’s going to run against John Bel Edwards for the job next year.
But it appears the wheels are measurably turning for Kennedy For Governor. LAPolitics.com’s Jeremy Alford had this entry at the Baton Rouge Business Report on Friday…
An announcement may or may not be forthcoming, but various bits and pieces for a gubernatorial bid from U.S. Sen. John Kennedy are being put together. According to senior campaign staffers, Kennedy met with advisors last week and has since cleared media consultant Fred Davis to begin work on the 2019 cycle. “I believe he’s going to run,” said a longtime Kennedy associate.The California-based Davis, who has worked with Kennedy in the past, confirmed his marching orders last week. “My gut feels he’s pretty serious,” Davis said of the junior senator. When Kennedy ran for the Senate in 2008, he announced in November 2007. For the 2016 Senate race, Kennedy was an official candidate by February of that year. If those are our historic JNK guidelines, then we’re inside that announcement sweet spot right now. Aside from Gov. John Bel Edwards, the only other recent moves have originated with Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone, who has formed an exploratory committee.
The other possible candidates include:
• Attorney General Jeff Landry
• Congressman Ralph Abraham
• State Sen. Sharon Hewitt
• LABI President Stephen Waguespack
And the rumor we heard over the weekend was that Kennedy might make things official on Thursday. We’ve not heard any confirmation along those lines, and there is no particular reason why Kennedy would jump in this week as opposed to later in the year – though at some point there will be pressure from Louisiana GOP higher-ups for Kennedy to either get in or get out, because fundraising is going to be an issue given the aggressiveness of Edwards’ campaign cash haul to date. It’s expected Edwards will have well in excess of $10 million to spend, which is a sum a Republican challenger can match if the party is unified – but the concern is the Senator dithering on entering the race and then not ultimately choosing to run, leaving a host of contenders to jump in and split the GOP vote and donor base.
Nobody wants to see that, which accounts for the pressure to make a decision.
Of course, Rispone appears further along toward a decision to run having formed an exploratory committee. If you’re interested in hearing what he has to say about potentially jumping in, make sure to get your tickets to the Hayride’s Lake Charles tour event at which he’ll be speaking. So will Hewitt, along with state representative Blake Miguez.
UPDATE: Kennedy says he hasn’t made a decision yet, which nobody will believe…
An announcement from Senator John Kennedy on his intentions to run for governor next year may be coming soon. According to senior campaign staffers, Kennedy has met with advisors and gave the OK for media consultant Fred Davis, who has worked with the governor in the past, to begin work on the 2019 cycle. When asked, Kennedy didn’t deny that talks have happened.
“Yes, I’ve spoken with my consultant, but I have made no decision about the race yet,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy says he will make a decision soon, saying he’s already polled the race.
“The poll, it was a month ago. I was at 51 (percent), Governor Edwards was at 37 (percent),” said KennedyKennedy is not saying when he’ll make a decision, but says he disagrees with the direction Governor John Bel Edwards is taking the state.
“We don’t agree in terms of what the role of government is,” said Kennedy.
We doubt he’s going to announce he’s running on Thursday, as the rumor mill has it, but it’s pretty clear it’s coming.