A look back at the 2019 election as the 2023 election cycle begins


Democrats and Republicans will face off once again in three gubernatorial races across the country in 2023.

In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’s term is limited, and Republicans see the state as a great opportunity. In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is up for re-election but may face a primary challenge from other Republicans in the state. And, in Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear toppled the governor’s mansion in 2019, leaving Republicans eyeing his seat as one to return to his column.

Louisiana governor’s race

Democrats and Republicans spent $51 million on advertising in this race in 2019, with Bel Edwards’ Republican opponent Eddie Rispone spending the most, more than $13 million, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact.

Bel Edwards spent just under $13 million, while two outside super PACs, one Democrat and one Republican, spent a combined $18 million.

So far, only one Republican has declared that he will run for the Bel Edwards seat, but Republican Senator John Kennedy has rumors unleashed that he too is considering a career. Kennedy just finished a successful re-election campaign for the Senate, where raised over $30 million in a campaign cycle.

So far, no Democrat has announced that they will run, which would give Kennedy a significant advantage not only in the campaign, but also in fundraising. If he builds as big a war chest as he did for this year’s Senate race, it’s possible he could outspend any Democrat running for far more than Rispone outspent Bel Edwards on 2019.

Kentucky Governor’s Race

In Kentucky, Democrats are looking to hang on to another gubernatorial job. But in that state, incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear is running for re-election.

In 2019, Beshear beat out the then-gov. Matt Bevin, a Kentucky Republican, by just 0.4 percentage points, or just over 5,000 votes. Beshear’s campaign outspent Bevin’s on the airwaves by nearly $1 million, according to AdImpact, but the top spender overall was a Republican group called Putting Kentucky First, which is bound to the Association of Republican Governors.

Putting Kentucky First spent $9.2 million on the race, nearly a third of the total $30 million spent by candidates and outside groups on the race on both sides of the aisle.

Beshear found success in his 2019, despite only grossing around $5.5 million in his entire run. She already has more than $4 million in cash available for her re-election bid, according to his latest campaign finance. presentation. This, plus a approval rating of almost 60%give it strong tailwinds heading into 2023.

On the Republican side, at least 12 candidates have announced their intention to run for governor. This also helps Beshear. Candidates will be forced to spend on their bids for the Republican nomination, while Beshear can continue to raise money in the meantime.

And, Beshear showed success before when he ran against a wealthier candidate. In 2019, she won despite Bevin grossing over $2 million more than Beshear.

Mississippi Governor’s Race

In the Mississippi gubernatorial race, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is eligible to run again, but has not yet announced whether he will.

No one in either party has yet announced whether they will run to challenge Reeves, but they may need a significant fundraising advantage to take on him.

In 2019, Reeves more than any other candidate or outside group involved in the race. He spent $6.7 million on the airwaves, according to AdImpact, or about half of the total $12 million spent on elections across all sides.