Louisiana State Treasurer Says He Will Run for Governor

John Schroder
FILE - Former Louisiana state Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, speaks after completing his paperwork to run for state treasurer, July 12, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La. Schroder told supporters Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, that he is officially running for governor. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder announced Monday that he is running for governor.

Louisiana’s current Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, is unable to run this year due to term limits, creating a huge opportunity for the GOP to capture the state’s top government post. With the election about nine months away, Schroder and Attorney General Jeff Landry, both Republicans, are the only two major candidates to enter the race so far.

“This campaign is not going to be an easy one. We expect a crowded field and know we will have to buck the entrenched political establishment to win, but it is a fight worth fighting for the future of Louisiana,” Schroder said in a written statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday afternoon.

The Associated Press reached out to Schroder and his campaign team but did not receive an immediate response.

Schroder served nearly 10 years as a state representative in Louisiana, before winning a special election for state treasurer in 2017. He was reelected in 2019. Prior to his time at the Capitol, Schroder was a narcotics detective and served as a criminal investigation division special agent in the U.S. Army.

“We must build faith in government through transparency and accountability. We have suffered long enough for our reputation as a politically corrupt, crime ridden, unhealthy and uneducated state,” Schroder wrote.

The highly anticipated governor’s race has been closely watched by many, both in the state and in Washington, D.C., as it is expected to attract high-profile candidates. Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky are the only states electing governors this year.

One politician who had seriously considered entering the Louisiana race was U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. However, the Republican announced last week that he would not run, saying, “I just think I can help my state and my country more in the Senate.” Kennedy’s announcement surprised some, but seemingly opens the playing field for others to announce their candidacy.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is expected to announce Tuesday if he will seek the state’s top position. Nungesser, who is also up for reelection this year, has long said he is seriously considering the bid.

Additionally, U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, state Rep. Richard Nelson and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt have indicated they are considering the contest.

Landry, the only other major contender, announced his gubernatorial bid in October and has already amassed $5 million in cash on hand for his campaign, according to his longtime political consultant Brent Littlefield.

The conservative Republican and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump received an early endorsement from the Louisiana Republican Party — an announcement that sparked outrage from potential candidates who have yet to officially throw their hats into the ring. On Monday, Landry also announced that U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, endorsed him.

It remains unclear who will emerge as a Democratic candidate, but Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development, and Katie Bernhardt, chair of the state Democratic Party, are considered possible contenders.

Gubernatorial candidates are required to officially submit qualifying papers to the secretary of state between Aug. 8 and Aug. 10.

Louisiana’s recent elections have been unpredictable, in part because of the state’s unique “jungle” primary. Under this system, all candidates — regardless of party affiliation — will run against one another on the same ballot Oct. 14. If no candidate tops 50% in that primary, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on Nov. 18.

By AP reporter Sara Cline

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