Bernhard won’t run for Louisiana governor

    Jim Bernhard has put to rest rumors that he is planning to run for governor in 2019, saying unequivocally he will not get into the race.
    “I do not plan to run for governor of Louisiana,” Bernhard tells Daily Report. “I am not going to run for governor. I will not run.”
    The Democratic businessman, who founded and now runs the $2 billion private equity firm Bernhard Capital Partners, says it was important to address rampant rumors of his candidacy, reported recently by some media outlets. He says investors were even starting to call with questions.
    “Sometimes these things take on a life of their own,” he says. “I read so many articles about my running for governor [that] I thought maybe I woke up in the wrong mansion.”
    Bernhard, who founded and ran The Shaw Group until its acquisition in 2013 by CB&I, says he will support fellow Democrat and incumbent John Bel Edwards in next year’s race, assuming the governor seeks re-election, as is widely expected.
    “I think he has taken a bad situation and kept the boat from sinking,” Bernhard says. “He was dealt a bad hand and it looks to me like we’ve fixed a few things and moved forward.”
    Though rumors of a gubernatorial run have swirled about Bernhard in the past, this year’s street talk may have been sparked by his recent engagement on a variety of civic issues related to infrastructure improvements, crime fighting initiatives and funding for LSU. Since becoming more publicly involved earlier this year, Bernhard says he’s gotten a lot of support from other local business leaders including, most notably, developer Mike Wampold, as well as executives at Turner Industries and Benny’s Car Wash.
    “No one can say they don’t have enough time,” he says. “I don’t have enough time and I find time to do it. We just want to make Baton Rouge better and people are stepping up to help us all the time.”