Challenging an incumbent for reelection is not for the risk-averse. And as of this week, we can add Treasurer John Schroder to that category, along with Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Of all the Republicans elected to statewide office Louisiana – and that number counts everyone other than Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards – these two join U.S. Sen. John Kennedy as the most eager and willing to criticize the governor. Yet all of them have now taken a pass on a direct challenge at the ballot box.
For Landry and now Schroder, who announced his decision Monday, running against Edwards would have come with a personal cost. Because both are up for reelection at the same time, they’d have to give up their chances of winning new terms for their old jobs.
Kennedy didn’t have that problem, but a loss to Edwards by someone with his high profile would have been damaging to his political standing as well (not that he didn’t do plenty of harm by stringing fellow Republicans along for so long).
Give U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham this much: At least he knows how to be decisive.
Nor does U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, the congressman from northeastern Louisiana who was just reelected and who quickly turned around and said he’d challenge Edwards. Like Kennedy, he gets a free shot by running, but unlike the senator, he’s not dogged by high expectations.
And Eddie Rispone, the Baton Rouge businessman who joins Abraham as an announced opponent, has nothing to lose but the $5 million or so he plans to spend on the campaign.
That leaves just one other possible challenger on the sidelines, unless someone surprising comes along. Like Schroder and Landry, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt of Slidell would also have to forfeit a chance at a new term in order to go up against Edwards. She has said she’s studying the data and will decide sooner rather than later.
If she does join Abraham and Rispone, look for her to try to turn her sacrifice to her advantage. Only she, Hewitt could argue, wants the job so badly that she’s willing to go big or go home.
Must be nice to be state treasurer. You get to put out press releases when the credit rating agencies smile upon the state, but avoid the unpl…