‘LaPolitics’: Sen. John Kennedy readying war chest for 2022

Two high-powered Democrats from Baton Rouge hope to block U.S. Sen. John Kennedy from reelection next year, but to do so they’ll need to overcome a massive campaign war chest the incumbent is growing at an eyebrow-raising rate.

Luke Mixon, a former Navy fighter pilot, announced his candidacy this past Tuesday with the backing of state Democratic Party leaders and a campaign staff connected to Gov. John Bel Edwards and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

Just 24 hours later, activist Gary Chambers told LaPolitics he may get into the race as well. “I’ve had a lot of people ask me to become a candidate and I’m considering it. I was considering this race before I ran for Congress earlier this year,” Chambers said in an interview. “Whatever I do, I will work to make sure Sen. Kennedy isn’t re-elected.”  

Chambers says his failed congressional bid in the 2nd District helped him broaden his political network well past Louisiana. “We’ve got 15,000 individual donors who are ready to support a change,” he adds, “and all of them would like to see a new senator.” 

Whatever comes his way, Kennedy will be ready—at least financially. The senator’s campaign will soon report to the Federal Election Commission that it raised more than $2.4 million during the third quarter. Kennedy already has $8.6 million in the bank.

The Mixon campaign had no fundraising information available as of this week. But what Mixon, 42, lacks in money, he more than makes up for in moxie. During his first day as a candidate, Mixon attacked Kennedy for his votes related to hurricane recovery efforts, infrastructure funding, flooding and health care. “Our infrastructure is crumbling and communities are flooding, but Sen. Kennedy voted against billions of dollars to improve our roads and protect Louisiana communities from natural disasters,” Mixon said. “Health care costs are bankrupting families, yet Sen. Kennedy voted to end coverage for over half a million hardworking people in our state. We need better jobs that provide the people of Louisiana with a living wage to support their families.”

Keep on trucking: The Louisiana Motor Transport Association Foundation has launched a new image campaign to “reinforce the value of the state’s trucking industry.” The central theme is “Louisiana Truckers Make Life Go Round.” Innovative Advertising of Mandeville is working with the foundation to steer the campaign and distribute its message via ads, billboards and earned media. Together they also commissioned DC-based Cygnal Polling for a public opinion survey conducted in the spring. The poll found that 82% of Louisiana was unified in wanting to protect the trucking industry. While this percentage varied a bit between demographics, every group surveyed expressed a level of support above 75%. 

A look ahead: The House Education Committee meets Monday at 1 p.m. in Room 6 of the state Capitol to “receive an update from the state Department of Education relative to the development of the social studies state content standards.”

They said it: “I just don’t have time to study no more, you know, just come in and bring barges of rocks where they got to be.”—Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle, on the need for hurricane protections in south Louisiana, on Fox News.  

Correction: Last week a “They said it” quote from U.S. Sen. John Kennedy featured an incorrect attribution. The senator’s quote was in regard to the reconciliation bill, not the child tax credit.

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.