- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 5, 2022

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has officially launched his bid for governor 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 a nearly seven-minute long video Wednesday, in which he details his background and addresses several campaign issues - most notably, crime in urban areas, “liberal school boards and radical school leaders forcing political philosophy into the classroom” and a “complete crisis of 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 We can fix our broken tax system and we can modernize our outdated constitution,” Landry said in the video. “We can have a state government that fixes problems and delivers solutions. It’s not going to be easy but we can put our state on a new course, because the path we’re on is even harder.”

Landry has raised the profile of attorney general, since being elected in 2015, using his office to champion Republican policy positions. He’s clashed repeatedly with Edwards - the only Democratic governor in the Deep South - over LGBTQ rights, state finances and the death penalty. In addition, 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.

Most recently Landry, 51, has been in the spotlight over Louisiana’s abortion ban, which only has exceptions if there is substantial risk of death or impairment to the patient if they continue with the pregnancy and in the case of “medically futile” pregnancies - when the fetus has a fatal abnormality. The attorney general urged the Louisiana Bond Commission to withhold approval of a $39 million future line of credit for a critical New Orleans area power plant project over city leaders opposition to enforce the ban. Landry, who vehemently opposes abortions, has said that people who disagree with the abortion laws “can go to another state.”

Though Landry’s official announcement of his gubernatorial bid came this week, it has long been speculated. The Advocate reported last month that the Republican raised funds for the race at his annual alligator hunt, where he passed 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 voted for Donald Trump by wide margins in the past two presidential contests.

While the gubernatorial race is a year away, a list of politicians interested in the position is slowly growing.

In August, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, a Republican, confirmed during a press availability that he plans to join the race, hitting the campaign trail in 2023. Louisiana Republican Treasurer John Schroder told supporters in January he plans on running for governor.

Among other Republicans who have indicated that they are considering running for the state’s highest position are U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, Congressman Garret Graves, state Rep. Richard Nelson, and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt.

It remains unclear who will emerge as a Democratic candidate.

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