Attorney General Jeff Landry says “there is no doubt if I run I’ll beat John Bel Edwards, and you can tell him that.” That’s from an interview with USA Today Network's Greg Hilburn, where the AG seemed to throw down the gauntlet and do everything shy of outright saying he’s running for governor in 2019. UL Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says there’s nothing subtle about it.
“I think this is a little bit different than the usual political rivalry, I see an announcement here. I see “well if no one else is going to take the lead, it’s going to be me.”
Landry and Edwards have gone back and forth since they both took office in 2015, in one of the state’s more public political rivalries. Landry, who served in the US House of Representatives prior to becoming Attorney General, has tangled with Edwards recently over the death penalty. Cross says if this is for real, then Edwards’ will have a serious challenge on his hands.
“Jeff Landry is a dogged campaigner, he will stop at nothing. No one wants to run against Jeff Landry, just ask Charles Boustany.”
While the wording was strong, no candidate has officially joined the race against Edwards. Senator John Kennedy is widely reported to be considering a run, and Congressman Ralph Abraham has made comments indicating he’s thinking the same. Cross says if he had to rank the three on how much of a threat they’d be to Edwards, he’d go Kennedy first, then Landry and Abraham.
“Kennedy of course is very well known, he’s run a number of statewide races. Abraham on the other hand is not well known, he’s much less well known than Jeff Landry. Landry is the person who’s most likely to run.”