2019 Governor's Race: Hats Going In The Ring

Dec 26, 2017

In addition to fiscal cliff issues dominating legislative discussions this spring and congressional elections this fall, what's on the political horizon for 2018?

There's about to be a governor's race, and so candidates are going to have to announce, start campaigning this year, start raising money this year," says Gannett reporter Greg Hilburn.

Hilburn, plus Melinda Deslatte with Associated Press and Jeremy Alford of Lapolitics.com recently ran down the list of potential candidates.

"There's a lot — a lot!" Alford said, with Hilburn concurring.

"Highest profile, I guess, right now is Senator Kennedy," Hilburn began. "And of course he has the money and the power to run."

"But also you hear a lot of chatter about the possibility of Steve Scalise," Deslatte interjected.

"Ralph Abraham has said that he's interested," Hilburn continued.

"Garret Graves is another name you hear," Alford added, rounding out the list of potential contenders that are currently serving in Congress.

The trio of state politics reporters then began ticking off names of those who frequent the state capitol — statewide elected officials, lawmakers, and even a former member of the Jindal administration.

"We've heard rumors about Stephen Waguespack from LABI," Alford remarked. (The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president variously served former governor Bobby Jindal as policy director, executive counsel, and chief of staff.)

Hilburn then mentioned a first term state senator from Slidell, as another possible candidate for governor.

"State Senator Sharon Hewitt is interested," he said.

"Look at her Twitter feed — she is everywhere but in her own district," Deslatte noted.

"She is the most active candidate for governor right now," Hilburn agreed.

"Don’t forget Jeff Landry," Deslatte then added.

"I can’t imagine that Senator Kennedy and General Landry would both enter that race," Hilburn replied.

And Deslatte agreed that the lengthy list of Republicans they'd just enumerated all remain in the category of "definite maybes."

"It seems as though a lot of folks in the Republican Party are trying to wait to see what John Kennedy is going to decide to do," she observed. "He seems to be the big question mark."

And what about the incumbent, John Bel Edwards?

"Obviously, he's a Democrat in a red state. But never discount the incumbency power of a governor," Deslatte said. "I mean, he’s raised millions of dollars already, so he's ahead of anybody else."

"I think he is at least an even money shot to win," Hilburn said.

"In 2015, they called him a 'Long Shot,'" Alford said, shamelessly plugging his book of the same name. "Some people saying now that he's a no shot. I think as governor, though, he's a big shot, so I give him a shot."