BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – On the first day of qualifying for Louisiana’s elections, several candidates came to the State Archives to sign up for the U.S. Senate race.
Senator John Kennedy is wrapping up his first term and is seeking re-election. He is up against a number of Democratic challengers. Kennedy is heading into his re-election campaign with a war chest of $ 29 million. He expects to raise over $ 40 million before the campaign is over.
He points to the record of his freshman term in Washington as the reason why he should be reelected. He said he tries to align his votes with how he believes a majority of Louisianans would vote “with the information he has”.
“Here is what I as a Republican stand for and what I think most of my Republican colleagues stand for…look at what we did,” Sen. Kennedy said.
Three key democrats qualified on the first day to run against Kennedy and are not deterred by his campaign funds.
Gary Chambers, who ran for the U.S. House last year, hopes to bring a more progressive voice to the Senate. He has gained recognition for his provocative campaign ads where he has been shown smoking marijuana and burning a confederate flag.
“I’m not the Democrat’s favorite or the Republicans, but I will be the people’s favorite. Because this election is not going to be about D.C. It’s going to be about our future. It’s going to be about what kind of America do we want to live in,” Chambers said.
Chambers brought a bottle of RoundUp weed killer to give to Kennedy at the qualifying event. He cites an ad by the Republican where he states he would rather drink weed killer than let the people of Louisiana down.
Also running for a Democratic seat is Luke Mixon, the commercial pilot from Bunkie. Mixon does not have a political background and has served as a pilot in the military, where he was deployed four times. He’s voiced his frustrations with Kennedy’s vote to overturn the election and response to January 6th. He has even been endorsed by Governor John Bel Edwards.
“I’m not an extremist. If you’re looking for someone on one of the extremes, I’m probably not your guy. My candidacy is very simple; we’re about fighting for Louisiana families and fighting for our American democracy,” Mixon said.
Syrita Steib is also in the race. After facing many hurdles after being incarcerated – she strives to focus on women’s rights, education, and infrastructure. She could not attend qualifying and sent her mother to speak on her behalf.
“But after serving her time and paying for her mistakes, she found that the opportunities that were available for her were far and few between,” Sylvia Taylor, Steib’s mother said.
The candidates who spoke on Wednesday were asked about some of the latest social issues to hit congress and how they would vote. Namely, the Respect of Marriage Act which passed the House the night prior. The bill would codify marriage rights for same-sex couples and interracial couples. Chambers and Mixon both said they would vote for the bill if they were in the Senate. Sen. Kennedy said the bill is a way for Democrats to score political points, and he would have to read the bill before making a final decision.
A notable difference between two of the democratic candidates is their stance on abortion. Chambers is in support of abortion rights, while Mixon is anti-abortion but supports exceptions for rape and incest. Kennedy has been staunchly anti-abortion.
There are a few more candidates who have filed for the race and have until Friday to qualify.
The primary election for the Senate seat will be on November 8, and the general election is on December 10.