U.S. Sen. John Kennedy won't say if he is running for governor for a few more days, but he's already being hit with negative campaign ads.
American Bridge, a Democrat-backing political action committee that has been tracking Kennedy for opposition research for several months, has launched digital ads in Louisiana attacking Kennedy's political ambitions and linking him to former Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The ad, which calls Kennedy "Senator Soundbite" launched the same day that Kennedy's campaign team confirmed he won't announce whether he is running for governor until Monday, after previously setting a Saturday deadline.
Kennedy had alluded to the new timeline Wednesday night during an appearance on Fox News in which he said he would make an announcement "by Monday."
Kennedy, 67, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2017 after serving for several years as state treasurer.
"Kennedy is not doing his job and now he want's a promotion," the American Bridge ad claims.
The ad shows clips from Kennedy's 100-plus appearances on national television news stations this year, and it ends with archive footage of Jindal, who unsuccessfully ran for president and polls unpopularly with Louisiana voters, endorsing Kennedy for office.
“Senator Kennedy’s record speaks for itself: more than a hundred media interviews, no accomplishments. Recycled soundbites might get John Kennedy on television in Washington and New York City, but they don’t do a thing to help Louisianans back home,” American Bridge spokesperson Zach Hudson said of the campaign.
The only Republican who has announced a challenge to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in the 2019 governor's race is Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, still isn't ruling out a run for governor.
"If I had to make a decision today it would be that I was running," Abraham said in an interview with USA Today Network published Thursday.
Separately, he told The Advocate on Thursday that he's "certainly leaning to run.”
“We are definitely looking," he said.
He has set his own time frame of making the call before the first of the year.
“It’s a lot of moving parts right now," he said. "We’re just going to play it the way we see best.”
Kennedy's decision won't be a factor for him, he said.
“John’s going to do what John’s going to do," Abraham said. "I know he walked it back a little bit but that’s John’s prerogative and his decision. John’s decision won’t influence mine. I think he wants a better Louisiana, I certainly want a better Louisiana. We’ll see what he does but what he does will not influence what I do.”
Several Republicans, including Attorney General Jeff Landry who removed himself from gubernatorial speculation recently when he announced he's running for re-election, have called for the party to get behind one candidate. Edwards, who previously was a state House member, made it into a runoff race against Republican David Vitter in the 2015 race, after Vitter and two other prominent Republicans campaigned against each other.
“Hopefully, maybe we’ve learned from our past mistakes," Abraham said, adding that if he runs, he won’t go after anyone personally.
Advocate correspondent Bryn Stole contributed to this article from Washington, DC.