Luke Mixon

Luke Mixon, a Baton Rouge pilot, announced Tuesday, October 5, 2021 that he will challenge the reelection of U.S. Sen. John N. Kennedy in the 2022 election.

A combat veteran Baton Rouge fighter pilot who now flies commercial airlines announced Tuesday he is challenging the reelection of Republican U.S. Sen. John N. Kennedy in the fall of 2022.

“Our infrastructure is crumbling and communities are flooding, but Sen. Kennedy voted against billions of dollars to improve our roads and protect Louisiana communities from natural disasters,” said Luke Mixon, 42, who will run as a Democrat with a campaign team made up aides who helped elect the state’s most prominent Democratic officials, including Gov. John Bel Edwards and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell.

A Bunkie native, Mixon graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 and was deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, flying F/A-18 Hornets off aircraft carriers. He earned three Air Medals during that time was recognized as the F/A-18 Attack Aviator of the Year.

Left the military in February, after 17 years of service, as the commanding officer of a Navy fighter squadron based in New Orleans.

“During my time in the military, I was blessed to work with some of the bravest and most talented Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. However, I’ve also seen the consequences of irresponsible leadership. I’ve seen it abroad in our foreign policy and here in Louisiana,” said Mixon. “Louisiana deserves responsible leaders who represent the needs of their constituents.”

“Sen. John Kennedy has actively blocked efforts to get Hurricane Laura and Ida victims necessary resources to recover from the storms, he has stalled critical funding to upgrade our crumbling infrastructure, and he even voted against funding to support Louisiana families,” said Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Katie Bernhardt. “We could not be happier to see a decorated veteran step up and answer the call to serve his country once again by fighting back against failed Sen. John Kennedy.”

But Kennedy will be no pushover.

A favorite on conservative television and talk radio programs for the Oxford-educated, former bond attorney’s downhome sayings, polls show Kennedy is popular with Louisiana voters. The 69-year-old Republican from Madisonville reports $8.6 million in his campaign war chest for his bid for a second term. Kennedy was state treasurer for 17 years before winning the U.S. Senate seat vacated by David Vitter in 2017.