NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The political landscape for the 2019 governor’s race is expected to be dramatically different for incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, no matter which Republicans sign up to challenge Edwards.
With Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry opting not to run against Edwards, speculation is heightened over how the GOP field will ultimately shape up for next year’s election.
"For any Republican, being in a race against a Democrat it is a huge advantage, so for Attorney General Jeff Landry, this could have been a good opportunity,” said FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman.
Louisiana’s junior U.S. senator is still in the process of making up his mind.
"All eyes on Sen. Kennedy. This is a free shot for him. He gets to keep his Senate seat while running for governor. Sitting in the U.S. Senate gives him an easy platform to raise funds, and he already has statewide name recognition,” Sherman said.
Kennedy said he will decide by December 1.
"I’ve tried not to encourage the speculation. I’ve tried not to answer the question. I’m not being coy. It’s no secret that Governor Edwards, for whom I have a lot of respect, he’s a friend, but I think he’s taking our state in the wrong direction,” Kennedy told FOX 8 News.
Edwards would disagree. In myriad speeches this year, interviews with the media and on social media, Edwards has touted why he thinks his governorship been good for Louisiana.
"We've seen steady progress in our state to where we are today coming out of this most recent special session. We're on a much better path toward prosperity and opportunity,” Edwards said in Facebook video.
GOP Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone said last month he will be a candidate for governor.
Louisiana remains a solidly red state.
"For any Democrat, they need to create a new path to statewide election. Gov. John Bel Edwards put together that path last time. Now that he’s the incumbent, he needs a new path, especially when you don’t have David Vitter in the race,” Sherman said.
"I feel very, very good about what we've been able to accomplish especially in light of the tremendous difficulties that we inherited,” Edwards said in the video.
"For me it's about what's best for my state and my country and what's best for me, and what's best for my family, I mean I haven't tried to be coy about it, that's honestly where am,” Kennedy said.
Whether Kennedy is in or out of the race, Sherman believes the contest will be closely watched outside of Louisiana.
"A lot of eyes in America are on Gov. John Bel Edwards. He’s a white democrat in the south trying to figure out how to get re-elected. He’s pro-life, pro-gun, could be a new form of democrat,” Sherman stated.