The list of Louisiana Republicans eyeing a campaign against Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in the 2019 election is shrinking, with the head of the state’s major business lobbying group joining several others in declining to enter the race.
Stephen Waguespack, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, announced this morning he’s ended consideration of a possible gubernatorial bid.
“I will not seek any elected office in 2019, but I will be an active voice to make sure next year’s elections are about substance rather than sound bites,” he says in a statement.
Waguespack’s announcement comes two days after Attorney General Jeff Landry confirmed he will run for re-election as the state’s chief legal officer, rather than challenge Edwards. And though many Republicans hoped U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise would enter the governor’s race, Scalise has repeatedly said that he intends to stay in Congress. Scalise will be the No. 2 GOP leader when Democrats take control of the House.
Focus remains squarely on whether U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, who remains consistently popular with Louisiana voters, will try to keep Edwards from a second term in office. Kennedy has said he’ll announce his intentions by Dec. 1.
Also considering whether to jump into the most high-profile race on the state political calendar are U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt. One Republican has announced a gubernatorial campaign: Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.