Politics

Sen. John Kennedy Weighing Gubernatorial Run

Said he has not made a final decision

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., says he hasn’t decided about a run for governor, but he criticized the state’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy says he is weighing a challenge to the state’s incumbent Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards.

Kennedy told WWL that he had not made a final decision while also calling Edwards ineffective.

“He’s basically let illegal immigrants in, and let dangerous criminals out and whined for more money,” Kennedy said.

In a separate interview with KPLC, Kennedy further expanded on his criticism of Edwards on education, the economy and infrastructure.

“I just don’t see the progress we have made in terms of education, economic development — our labor participation rate is an embarrassment,” he said. “I don't see what he’s done in terms of infrastructure. I don’t see what he’s done in terms of health care. He’s spending more money, but I don’t see any metrics of our people getting any healthier.”

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Kennedy is serving his first term in the Senate after former Sen. David Vitter, whom Edwards beat in the governor’s race in 2015, retired in 2016.

In response to Kennedy’s assertions, the Louisiana Democratic Party compiled a list of Edwards’ accomplishments, including working with the Trump administration on flood relief and expanding Medicaid.

“To help him get up to speed, we have compiled a list of facts and translated them into his own language — since he has decidedly become the Senator of one-liners,” the party said, in a jab at the fact that Kennedy has become one of the most quotable senators.

Among the things they highlighted were unemployment “steadily dropping like a hot potato out of delicate hands” and Medicaid expansion being “a win-win like the Saints winning the Super Bowl during Mardi Gras.”

Democrats also pointed out that Kennedy has not passed any major legislation and is just one year into his job, which he got only after losing two previous Senate races.

“Kennedy’s one-liners might be funny, but misinforming the public is no laughing matter,” the party said.

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham is also considering challenging Edwards, going as far as hiring campaign staff “to hit the ground running if that’s what we decide.”

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