Sen. John Kennedy staying out of Louisiana governor’s race

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has ended months of speculation about the Louisiana governor’s race, saying he won’t run against Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards in 2019.

The shocking announcement Monday removes a formidable opponent from the race and leaves Republicans scrambling without a well-known contender as they try to unseat the Deep South’s only Democratic governor.

Kennedy released his plans in a statement, saying he can help Louisiana by staying in Washington.

Suggestions that Kennedy would challenge Edwards began nearly as soon as he was elected senator two years ago. But Edwards remains popular, and Kennedy has quickly raised his profile in Washington.

Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone is the lone Republican challenger to Edwards’ bid for a second term. Also considering the race is U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham.

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