LOUISIANA, USA — With Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards now term-limited, the race for the state’s top office was expected to be a crowded one.
So far, it hasn’t turned out that way.
“In the year of a governor’s race this is the time when the field of potential candidates tends to grow,” WWL-TV Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos said. “But this year we’re seeing it shrink.”
Last week, Senator John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, took a pass on the race, opting instead to stay in Washington.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who was thought to be a strong possible contender, announced he would run for re-election instead of governor this week.
He admits his path to victory would not have been easy.
Nungesser accused the Louisiana Republican Party of being hijacked by extremists.
“You can have conservative values and still do the right thing to help people,” Nungesser said. “But to punish, threaten doesn’t benefit anyone.”
When asked if he was referring to the state GOP-endorsed candidate, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Nungesser said if the shoe fits, wear it.
“My hopes are that the people of Louisiana will rally around a candidate that has a love for the state to do good things," he said.
In the meantime, Landry campaign adviser Brent Littlefield said they are not concerned by who may or may not get in the race.
“We’re running an aggressive race regardless of which democrat or other republicans might get in,” Littlefield said. “We’re running to win so Jeff can go out and fight for the people of Louisiana.”
State Treasurer John Schroder, a Northshore republican, says he’s also running for governor.
“I’m really excited that I finally made the decision and here we are, look forward to the race,” Schroder said. “It’s going to be a long 10 months, but we’ll see what happens. I’m excited to be in it.”
Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson and East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore are among the democrats eyeing the race.
Congressman Garret Graves, a Baton Rouge republican, is also considered a potential contender.
“There are a lot of republicans and a lot of democrats who want 'ABL,' Anybody But Landry," DuBos said
State Senator Sharon Hewitt, a Slidell republican, is also considering a potential run for governor.
Tuesday, Hewitt told WWL-TV, she is expected to announce her decision “soon.”