BATON ROUGE, La. — There have been five Republicans who have formally announced they are running for governor of Louisiana in 2023. But there’s one Republican who has yet to make a decision that seems to be getting a lot of the buzz — Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves.
Graves has been very coy about his intentions and whether or not he would run for the state’s top elected position. He told a radio station in early January that he had not yet made up his mind.
Unfiltered with Kiran had the chance to talk with the congressman following the State of the Union. And if he’s running, he’s still not ready to announce.
“Kiran, you weren’t clear,” the congressman joked. “If you asked which year, if you asked timing or something, I could have answered. But it was just a confusing question. It wasn’t well worded.”
There are a lot of republican backers who have been trying to get Graves into the race. It’s a race that’s beginning to get crowded, as republicans try to regain control of the governor’s mansion after democrat John Bel Edwards wraps up his second term in office.
So, who is running?
Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry and state treasurer John Schroder were the first two republicans to jump into the race.
Landry’s candidacy sparked controversy last November when he received an unusually early endorsement by the Louisiana Republican Party. That endorsement along with an endorsement from Donald Trump, Jr. has equated to millions in his campaign war chest.
Since the endorsement, state representative Richard Nelson and Louisiana Senate majority leader Sharon Hewitt have also entered the race.
Nelson, a first-term state representative, made a splash with his unique campaign video. Using dinosaur costumes, he targeted politicians he deemed ‘stuck in the past’.
Xan John, a former U.S. Senate candidate from Lafayette, also said he will run.
Lake Charles attorney Hunter Landry is running as an independent candidate. So far, no democrat has announced their intention to run, however, DOTD secretary Shawn Wilson has formed an exploratory committee and says he will reach a decision soon.
Who’s not running?
Louisiana’s two U.S. Senators both bowed out of the race. Dr. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, who was just re-elected in November, say they are focused on their role in representing Louisiana in D.C.
“For the last several years, I have been working on specific legislation that is critical for the future of our state and country,” Cassidy said in his decision. “I don’t know if these solutions will pass, but I know they will not pass if I decide to run for another office. “
Kennedy had a similar sentiment, “At this juncture, I just think I can help my state and my country more in the Senate.”
Lieutenant Governor Bill Nungesser won’t run for governor and will instead run for re-election. Mike Strain, the commission of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, will also seek re-election instead of running for governor.
Race for Governor
The gubernatorial primary is set for October 14, 2023. Louisiana has a jungle primary, meaning that all candidates of any party will appear on the same ballot. Voters can vote for any candidate regardless of their registered party affiliation.
With so many candidates, it is unlikely any candidate will reach a simple majority in October. That would force a run-off between the top two candidates in November.
The top vote getter in that run-off would be the next governor of Louisiana.
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