Louisiana politics was shaken up this week after Sen. John Kennedy closed the door on a possible gubernatorial run.
According to the Washington Examiner, Kennedy broke the news to his supporters in an email on Wednesday, saying, "I have looked into my heart and decided to remain in the Senate and not to run for governor."
"At this juncture, I just think I can help my state and my country more in the Senate," the longtime Republican lawmaker went on to add.
The paper noted how Kennedy was widely considered the front-runner in this year's race to succeed Democrat John Bel Edwards, who is precluded by term limits from standing for reelection.
Kennedy's absence is thus expected to make for a far more competitive primary contest, with the Daily Advertiser suggesting that a slew of Republican hopefuls are likely to emerge.
While state Attorney General Jeff Landry is thus far the GOP's only official contender, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is also expected to throw his hat in the ring.
Other possible names include state Treasurer John Schroder, Republican Rep. Garret Graves, state Sen. Sharon Hewitt of Slidell, and state Rep. Richard Nelson of Mandeville.
Kennedy's decision may come as a surprise to some given that in November he put out a statement in which he expressed interest in Louisiana's governorship.
"Over the last year, Louisianans have asked me time and time again to come home to serve as governor during these difficult times," the Examiner quoted Kennedy as saying.
"We’ve always listened to them, so I am giving serious consideration to entering the governor’s race. I’ll be announcing my decision soon," he concluded.
However, the paper pointed out that Kennedy also ruled out running for governor just over four years ago despite having previously hinted at the prospect.
"I love being in the United States Senate. I will not be a candidate for governor in 2019," he declared in December of 2018.
"I will, however, continue to work hard every day in D.C. and Louisiana for jobs, economic growth, cheaper health insurance, a stronger military, and an end to government waste," Kennedy stressed.
"I am fortunate to sit on powerful Senate committees that provide a venue to do that. It is such an honor to represent the people of Louisiana in the United States Senate," he continued. "Right now, that’s where I think I can do the most good."