John Bel Edwards shows the Democrats’ path to the governor’s mansion in 2015 and 2019 — keeping the party behind one man’s back, watching the GOP kill each other in the primaries, and then Defeat the wounded Republican candidate in the runoff.
Can Democrats support a candidate now after Democratic Chairwoman Katie Bernhardt presents herself as a contender in a super PAC-funded ad that began airing Monday? Suspected of.
In the 60-second ad, Bernhardt never says she intends to run, but the ad contains typical candidate style, showing her talking about the need for a better future, shooting a rifle and playing with children.
She introduced herself twice in the ad and said she was “someone who is ready to work hard for our children’s future”.
But on Monday, Bernhardt’s apparent candidacy angered Democrats who have been backing state Transportation Secretary Sean Wilson.
“He deserves full consideration,” said Gary Chambers Jr., the top Democrat in last year’s U.S. Senate race. “He is a man of impeccable integrity and has run a national institution irreproachably.”
Wilson said he was more likely to run than not, saying he was on the “last leg of due diligence.”
Hillary Moore III, the Democratic district attorney for East Baton Rouge, said he will decide next week whether to run.
Democratic leaders appear confused by Bernhardt, who should be looking for a strong candidate for the party but is now seriously considering becoming one.
Edwards doesn’t think she should run, said a person familiar with his thinking.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Trey Ourso, a former state executive director who played a key outside role in getting Edwards elected in 2015 and 2019 and is expected to pass his election this year. Gumbo PAC assists the Democratic candidate.
In a brief interview, Bernhardt said she “isn’t a candidate at this time. I’m committed to finding a good candidate to beat Jeff Landry and make sure we bring the leadership of the party, our governor and Congress together.” The leadership came together to form a united front.”
If Bernhardt does run, she will also have to contend with Democrats outraged over decisions she made during her three-year tenure as party chair.
Until now, Republican leaders have fretted over the prospect of a repeat of the 2015 and 2019 races, when a multi-candidate Republican field faced a single Democrat. Republican candidates so far include Attorney General Landry, Treasury Secretary John Schroeder, State Senator Sharon Hewitt and State Rep. Richard Nielsen.
US Rep. Garret Graves is still weighing whether to run.
Last week, Louis Gurvich, the chairman of the state’s Republican Party, published an entire letter expressing concern that Graves’ entry would split the party so badly that Democrats would take over all other Republicans in the state this year. The state with the highest position wins.
“This article is submitted in the hope that conservatives can avoid the mistakes of the first two gubernatorial elections,” wrote Gurwich, who helped orchestrate Landry’s party support, which angered Schroeder, Hewitt and other leading Republicans.
Bernhardt, a 36-year-old business owner in Lafayette, was elected Democratic Party chairman in 2020 and has pledged to reinvigorate the party after it languished in Louisiana over the past decade .
Young, energetic and photogenic, she traveled the state recruiting candidates and raising funds during her tenure. But Republicans have also increased their dominance in state legislatures over that time, now approaching absolute majorities in both the House and Senate. Republicans were elected mayors of Shreveport and Monroe, ending years of Democratic rule in both cities.
“The Democratic chairperson’s job is to build infrastructure, recruit candidates and raise money. I haven’t seen that happen in the past three years,” said Lynda Woolard, a party activist in New Orleans , she lost the 2020 presidential race to Bernhardt. “She has no experience or skills to run a country.”
State Rep. Mandy Landry recently left the Democratic Party and largely became an independent, she said Monday, as the state backed then-State Rep. Royce Dupley in the New Orleans state Senate race last year. Sith.
“There’s nothing to suggest that she’s going to be a strong, principled governor because she hasn’t been a strong, principled chair,” Landry said. “If she gets to the final, [Jeff] Landry would mop the floors with her. “
Davante Lewis, who defeated incumbent Lambert Boissier III to join the Public Service Commission, is also unhappy with Bernhardt because the state spent money to elect Boissier.
Bernhardt’s main current ally is AP Marullo, a restaurateur and real estate developer in the New Orleans metro area, who said he will spend $150,000 this week in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lafayette. A Bernhardt ad is played. It’s under the banner of the Louisiana PAC team.
“I think she’s going to be a great governor,” he said.
Super PACs often fail to coordinate their activities with candidates. Marullo said that rule does not apply because Bernhardt is not currently running.
Marullo insists the ads were not designed to help her.
“It’s problem advocacy,” he said. “The question is how do we attract leaders and the right leaders and what qualities should they have so we can do good in Louisiana.”
Marullo said he is raising money from others to fund Louisiana to make more ads that may or may not include Bernhardt.