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John Kennedy will not run for Louisiana governor, will instead remain in Senate

By Sarah May
|
January 5, 2023

Known for using colorful quips and anecdotes to shed light on the inner workings of government, Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana announced Wednesday that he intends to remain in the upper chamber of Congress, rather than entering his state's governor's race, as Politico reports.

Kennedy was recently re-elected to a second term in the U.S. Senate but had reportedly been contemplating a run to become Louisiana's chief executive in a contest that could see a Republican take the reins from the current, yet term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Staying in Senate

The Hill, citing an email sent by Kennedy to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, explained that the senator's decision came following significant deliberations about where he could make the greatest positive impact.

“I have looked into my heart and decided to remain in the Senate and not to run for governor,” Kennedy said.

“At this juncture, I just think I can help my state and my country more in the Senate,” he added.

Highlighting what he feels he has accomplished in the Senate thus far, Kennedy declared, “I have passed more bills as the lead author than any first-term senator in Louisiana's history, but to be an effective senator, killing bad ideas is just as important as advancing good ones. I'm going to be very busy doing both.”

Changing gubernatorial stakes

Despite securing re-election to the Senate in the past cycle, Kennedy had been entertaining the notion of a gubernatorial role, having said, “Over the last year, Louisianans have asked me time and time again to come home to serve as governor during these difficult times.”

“Becky and I love the people of Louisiana. We've always listened to them, so I am giving serious consideration to entering the governor's race. I'll be announcing my decision soon,” Kennedy noted, before ultimately deciding not to throw his hat into that particular ring.

As Politico noted, Kennedy had also previously mulled entering the governor's race back in 2019, a contest in which Edwards ultimately prevailed.

Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy had also been tinkering with the idea of a run for the governor's mansion this time around, but in the end, also decided to remain in the upper chamber to maximize his possible impact as the top GOP member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The Hill further noted that Louisiana Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry has already declared his candidacy in the governor's race, and a number of other high-profile GOP prospects, including state treasurer John Schroeder, state Rep. Richard Nelson, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, and others were reportedly planning to announce their plans in the near future.

Republican raconteur

Kennedy's decision to remain on the national political stage will likely come as welcome news to those who have come to enjoy his folksy approach to describing what goes on in the halls of Congress.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has compiled some of Kennedy's more noteworthy expositions on issues ranging from gun control to social media, illustrating the characteristically down-home manner in which he tends to express himself.

When asked whether his opposition to heightened gun restrictions was due to what some alleged was his fear of the National Rifle Association, Kennedy replied that he had no such trepidation, but was instead “petrified of giving the power to confiscate guns and ask questions later to public officials,” telling his critics, “[i]f you trust government, you obviously failed history class. The Native Americans gave up their guns, too.”

In the midst of a hearing regarding delays in a financial audit of the Defense Department, Kennedy, clearly exasperated, joked, “We've got...some hogs who have all four feet and their snout in the trough. And we got to find out who they are, gentlemen.”

Enemy of the woke

Also earning Kennedy legions of admirers well beyond Louisiana are his frequent, pointed barbs at liberal culture and the influence it has on his colleagues on the other side of the aisle in D.C., something that was in evidence during a recent campaign appearance he made on behalf of unsuccessful Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, as The New Republic noted.

Of some of his ideological opponents, Kennedy said, “These woke, high-IQ stupid people, they're easy to recognize. They hate George Washington, they hate Thomas Jefferson, they hate Dr. Seuss, and they hate Mr. Potato Head.”

“And these high-IQ...stupid people, the wokers in charge of Washington, D.C., the berserk wing of the Democratic Party – they hyperventilate on their yoga mats if you use the wrong pronoun. They're all over Washington, D.C.,” Kennedy added, but with his decision to stay in the Senate, it appears the senator is bound and determined to offer a vocal counterbalance to those influences every chance he gets.