There had been a good bit of speculation in recent weeks which had it that Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser was going to beg out of the 2023 Louisiana governor’s race and instead just run for re-election in his current job. Jeff Sadow’s piece today here at the Hayride talked about that buzz; you can read it here.
But Nungesser put that speculation to bed in an appearance in northeast Louisiana yesterday. At least as of now, he’s going to run for governor.
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser said he plans to run for Louisiana governor in 2023.
There have been rumors that Nungesser will run for governor, but they were not confirmed until today, Aug. 9, 2022, during his visit to Lake Providence.
“I am planning on running,” Nungesser said. “I want to get through the mid-term elections, and I’ve got a lot of work to do before the end of the year. And the minute I announce, I won’t be spending tax dollars advertising tourism with me.”
Nungesser said he plans to hit the campaign trail in January 2023.
In the meantime, Nungesser said he will continue cleaning up the state.
As of right now, your field, at least among major candidates in the race, is Nungesser, Treasurer John Schroder and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
But that field is by no means set. Look for a number of minor candidates to get in, including a handful of the usual sad-sack suspects, and then watch for two slots to be filled.
One will be the dark-horse moderate candidate. When there’s a competitive race there usually is one, and there’s a tradition that sometimes that dark horse will win. Buddy Roemer was one of those. So was Kathleen Blanco. Mike Foster ran as a conservative, but he was a Democrat and, at the end of the day, really a moderate. Who’s your dark horse moderate this time? Rick Ward and Craig Greene have had their names tossed around a little, but if this slot is filled our bet is it’ll be somebody who’s a sheriff or a parish president somewhere; a true unknown. The unknowns are the ones who tend to be most dangerous.
But the more moderates get in, the more likely it is that Landry secures a spot in the runoff. He probably has the biggest base of anybody for the jungle primary.
The other slot, however, will be the Democrat in the race. Sadow’s post talked about how the state’s Democrats and particular their white monied establishment, the Bel Edwards crowd, will have to choose between running their own candidate or throwing in behind the most moderate Republican they can find.
As of now that would be Nungesser, though the white Democrat cabal has been floating Bill Cassidy as a Great White Moderate Hope for much of this year.
The bet here is this crossover play isn’t going to happen. There’s an obvious reason for it – you raise and spend a lot of money in a governor’s race, and on the Democrat side you can get a whole bunch of it from outside the state. National left-wing political groups, be they unions or the George Soros cash-money network or whatever else, will be awfully desirous of keeping the Louisiana governor’s mansion in Democrat hands and those guys aren’t bashful about throwing money away on unlikely electoral hopefuls. Don’t forget that current DNC chairman Jamie Harrison ran for the Senate in 2020 against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina and burned through $100 million to lose a 55-45 decision.
They’re going to run someone. We heard buzz earlier this year about Baton Rouge mayor Sharon Weston Broome, though Broome’s almost comic mismanagement of the state’s capital city is making her a harder and harder sell statewide. More lately, the name being thrown around is New Orleans city councilwoman and former state legislator Helena Moreno.
Moreno is white. She was born in Mexico, but she’s white; she has blond hair and is physically indistinguishable from any other white lady from the nice parts of Orleans Parish. She and her husband are filthy rich and own race-horses. She’s a classic limousine leftist who used to be a newscaster for WDSU-TV in New Orleans.
But Moreno is as woke a politician as there is in Louisiana, and she’s one of the most shameless attention whores in Louisiana politics of modern vintage. She’s almost single-handedly destroyed the relationship between Entergy and the New Orleans City Council, so much so that the utility company’s move out of New Orleans as its headquarters is imminent and there is a good bit of discussion among Louisiana’s legislators about stripping the City Council from its role of regulating utilities and moving that function to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities elsewhere in the state. Moreno is a nonstop-panderer to the leftist non-profit groups who control New Orleans politics these days.
And she did something smart earlier this year. She endorsed Gary Chambers, rather than Luke Mixon, for the Senate.
That marks Moreno as far too much of a leftist to win the governor’s race next year, but it does ingratiate her to Chambers and it means that should she run for governor he’s much less likely to run against her – in fact, Chambers would probably be obligated to a degree to support her, and if he does that it could dissipate the possibility a black Democrat gets in the race.
This is the hope of the white Democrat establishment, and it’s a reason the state Democrat chair Katie Bernhardt is touting the possibility of Moreno running.
The likelihood would then be a Jeff Landry-Helena Moreno runoff. We’re not sure how Moreno could win that; Louisiana went for John Bel Edwards because he presented himself as a West Point graduate and military veteran who was pro-life and pro-gun, and so there was a shred of cultural affinity Edwards could draw on to attract independents and moderates in order to pull off a pair of very unlikely victories.
Helena Moreno doesn’t bring any of that to the table. She should be a decent money-raiser, particularly among the national leftist donors, and she’ll speak their woke language. But hard-core pro-abortion and anti-gun rhetoric, socialist economics, LGBTQ advocacy and the rest of the modern national Democrat fare, which is what her record indicates she’d be running on, tops a Democrat out at 42-45 percent of the vote on a very good day.
And next fall might not contain a whole lot of very good days for Democrats in Louisiana.
Nungesser needs to keep Helena Moreno out of the race, and he needs to keep another moderate Republican from getting in.