Government & Politics

John Bel Edwards throws elbow to Landrieu in re-election congratulations

First came the compliments. Then came the veiled warning.

In a press release Monday, state Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite congratulated New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu for his re-election Saturday. Then Edwards, an announced candidate in next year’s gubernatorial election, threw the first elbow among potential Democratic contenders.

He noted that almost two-thirds of voters in New Orleans are Democrats, but turnout in the mayor’s race was only about 34 percent.

“This kind of turnout tells us that a successful statewide candidate must possess the shared values of the people of our state,” said Edwards, who is the House Democrats’ leader.

Landrieu was elected twice as lieutenant governor, and many political insiders believe that he, too, will run for governor next year. However, when asked in Thursday’s WWL-TV debate if he would serve his full term, Landrieu responded, “Yes.”

Edwards threw another elbow on that point, suggesting Landrieu “might backpedal” on that promise. “I can tell you that when I make a promise, I keep it,” Edwards said in the news release.

Ryan Berni, who was Landrieu’s spokesman during the mayoral campaign, did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

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About Tyler Bridges

Tyler Bridges covers Louisiana politics and public policy for The Lens. He returned to New Orleans in 2012 after spending the previous year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, where he studied digital journalism. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as a reporter for the Miami Herald, where he was twice a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning teams while covering state government, the city of Miami and national politics. He also was a foreign correspondent based in South America. Before the Herald, he covered politics for seven years at The Times-Picayune. He is the author of The Rise of David Duke (1994) and Bad Bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards (2001). He can be reached at (504) 810-6222.