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GOP Sen. Kennedy Not Running for Louisiana Governor

Decision to focus on the Senate is helpful for Republican vote-counting

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., will not be running for governor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., will not be running for governor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Louisiana GOP Sen. John Kennedy announced Monday that he has decided against a run for governor next year.

“I love being in the United States Senate. I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2019,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I will, however, continue to work hard every day in D.C. and Louisiana for jobs, economic growth, cheaper health insurance, a stronger military, and an end to government waste.”

Kennedy had been seen as a likely challenger to Democratic incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards, but a campaign for governor would have taken away perhaps the Senate’s most quotable member. It also could have affected the Senate math on key votes, particularly nominations, with Kennedy likely needing to spend more time campaigning at home.

“I hope someone runs for Governor who understands that Louisiana state government does not have to be a big, slow, dumb, wasteful, sometimes corrupt, spend-money-like-it-as-ditchwater, anti-taxpayer, top down institution,” Kennedy said.

The Democratic Governors Association responded to Kennedy’s news with a statement saying he wasn’t getting into the race because he knew he couldn’t win.

“Republicans only now seem to understand what Louisianans have known all along: John Bel Edwards has turned the state around with strong fiscal leadership after years of mismanagement,” DGA Communications Director Jared Leopold said. “Only 25 days ago, John Kennedy said only he and Steve Scalise could beat Governor Edwards. Now, both have chosen not to run against him.

“Senator Kennedy did the same thing that every other top Republican recruit did: He paid for a poll and then realized he could not beat Gov. Edwards. National Republicans must be scrambling now that the top 3 Republican recruits have chosen not to run for governor.” 

Louisiana RepublicanRep. Ralph Abraham said last week he would make a decision whether he’s running by Jan. 1.

Watch: A Few of John N. Kennedy’s Greatest Kennedy-isms

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