Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser Opts-Out of Governor’s Race in 2023
BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - The 2023 race for Governor continues to take shape as Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser decides to opt-out of and focus on re-election.
In a statement released Monday, Nungesser notes that his tenure as Lt. Governor has seen a lot of positive growth for Louisiana, but that he sees a need to stay where he is.
"But the worst pandemic in our lifetime and a series of devastating storms leaves me with unfinished business to bring tourism back to its peak performance, especially for the near 250,000 families who rely on this industry for their livelihoods," Nungesser told supporters in a statement. "For that reason, and after much thought and prayer, I have decided to seek re-election to the Office of Lt. Governor."
Nungesser had previously said he would be announcing his bid on Tuesday, January 10, which is his birthday. He turns 64 this year.
However, Monday also saw John Schroder announce his run, with an official campaign kick-off in early February, and Jeff Landry secured another congressional endorsement, this time from Rep. Mike Johnson, who represents a chunk of northern Louisiana that includes the Shreveport-Bossier area.
Nungesser is also currently dealing with a broiling controversy in his own office, where he's accused of retaliating against a state worker and whistleblower who questioned some state contracts in his office.
State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton is taking Nungesser to court for putting her on leave. She retained attorney Gregory Miller who says Nungesser never had the authority to “march” Hamilton out of her office. Nungesser agrees that he does not have that authority.
He says Hamilton was sent home by her own human resources department after multiple employees made complaints about her workplace behavior.
Hamilton says Nungesser is trying to get even because she reported his “questionable” contracts to state and federal authorities.
Nungesser said he was never made aware of Hamilton’s complaints.
“I don’t know what I could’ve done that she could’ve reported me for,” said Nungesser.
He explained the last time he was investigated by the feds was during his campaign four years ago. He says someone told the FBI he was buying minority votes in the New Orleans area. He was unable to speak about the outcome of that investigation.
Here is Nungesser's full statement on the 2023 race.