By SARA CLINE – Associated Press
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has officially launched his gubernatorial bid in a highly anticipated gubernatorial race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards next year.
Landry, a conservative Republican and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, tweeted near seven minute video Wednesday, in which he details his journey and tackles several campaign issues – including crime in urban areas, “liberal school boards and radical school leaders forcing political philosophy into the classroom” and a “complete crisis leadership”.
“I’m tired of people leaving our state and I’m angry that our children’s education is not a priority. I’m sick of our big cities being run like third world nations. We can fix our flawed tax system and we can modernize our outdated constitution,” Landry said in the video. “We can have a state government that solves problems and comes up with solutions. It won’t be easy, but we can put our state on a new path, because the path we’re on is even harder.”
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Landry has raised the profile of the attorney general since his election in 2015, using his office to champion Republican policy positions. He has repeatedly clashed with Edwards — the Deep South’s only Democratic governor — over LGBTQ rights, state finances and the death penalty. Additionally, the former congressman has repeatedly put Louisiana in national fights, including over President Joe Biden’s policies that limit oil and gas production and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
More recently, Landry, 51, has been in the spotlight over Louisiana’s abortion ban, which only has exceptions if there is a substantial risk of death or disability to the patient if she pursues pregnancy and in the case of “medically futile” pregnancies – when the fetus has a fatal abnormality. The Attorney General has urged the Louisiana Bond Commission to suspend approval of a future $39 million line of credit for a critical New Orleans-area power plant project amid opposition from executives of the city to the enforcement of the ban. Landry, who vehemently opposes abortions, said people who disagree with abortion laws “can go to another state.”
Although Landry’s official announcement of his gubernatorial bid came this week, it has long been speculated. The attorney reported last month that the Republican raised money for the race during his annual alligator hunt, where he handed out “Landry for governor” shirts and hats. Speakers at the event included Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Louisiana is the rare conservative state to have a Democratic governor. The moderate Edwards won hard-fought races in 2015 and 2019 but is unable to seek a third consecutive term due to term limits. That means 2023 is a huge opportunity for Republicans to take control of the state, which has voted for Donald Trump by wide margins in the last two presidential elections.
With the gubernatorial race a year away, a list of politicians interested in the job is slowly growing.
In August, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, a Republican, confirmed at a press conference that he planned to join the race and enter the campaign trail in 2023. Louisiana Republican Treasurer John Schroder, told supporters in January that he planned to run for governor.
Other Republicans who have indicated they are considering running for the state’s highest office include U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, Congressman Garret Graves, State Rep. Richard Nelson and State Senator Sharon Hewitt.
It remains unclear who will emerge as the Democratic nominee.
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