Louisiana incumbents qualify for House and Senate races

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Incumbents for all six of Louisiana’s congressional districts and a U.S. Senate seat qualified this week for the Nov. 8 election, although they also drew at least 28 challengers.

While the incumbents have entered as favorites, one race that has gained attention — and candidates — is the U.S. Senate race. Twelve challengers are hoping to unseat first-term Sen. John Kennedy, who has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. As candidates submitted their political filings this week, the Republican appeared undeterred, stating that he expects to raise up to $40 million during his campaign.

“We’re going to run a very aggressive campaign and we’ve worked hard to raise the resources to do that,” Kennedy said at the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office Wednesday.

Leading Democratic challengers in the Senate race — former Navy fighter pilot Luke Mixon and activist Gary Chambers Jr. — will face a major uphill battle to unseat Kennedy. He already has nearly $16 million in campaign cash on hand and is running in a state that reliably sends Republicans to the Senate.

“I don’t need $40 million to beat John Kennedy; just a couple of million,” said Chambers, who has $137,986 cash on hand as of the most recent reporting period.

Chambers is a political newcomer who drew national attention earlier this year for an online video ad that shows him smoking marijuana while decrying racial disparities in drug arrests. He said that while he is neither the favorite for Democrats or Republicans, he “will be the people’s favorite.”

The other party front-runner, Mixon, is a moderate Democrat who recently received Gov. John Bel Edwards endorsement. Mixon, who has $584,252 cash on hand, has repeatedly attacked Kennedy for being among the Republicans who refused to certify the Electoral College election results in which President Joe Biden defeated former President Trump.

Candidates for Louisiana’s six congressional races also qualified this week.

Republican U.S. Reps. Clay Higgins, Garret Graves, Julia Letlow and Steve Scalise all qualified. Congressman Troy Carter, Louisiana’s only Democratic member of Congress who represents New Orleans and part of Baton Rouge, also qualified.

Additionally, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, was reelected to Congress without opposition after no other candidate signed up before qualifying closed Friday.

“I am truly grateful for the honor of serving the wonderful people of the 4th Congressional District, and humbled to now be given a 4th term to do so,” Johnson tweeted. “We have so much important work still to do, and I know in my heart that America’s best days are ahead of us, and not behind us.”

While the state’s incumbent members of the U.S. House are front runners, the race in the 3rd Congressional District gained some buzz.

Seven challengers including three Republicans -– among them is Holden Hoggat, Lafayette prosecutor and cattleman -– have qualified and hope to unseat Rep. Higgins.

Higgins has been easily reelected twice. Additionally, on Tuesday the Louisiana Republican Party issued a unanimous executive committee endorsement of Higgins, calling him “a strong conservative and outspoken voice for Louisianans.”