Kennedy to Switch Parties, Challenge Landrieu

According to Robert Novak, Louisiana Treasurer John N. Kennedy will switch parties to challenge Sen. Mary Landrieu.  Kennedy ran for Senate as a Democrat in 2004, getting defeated in a four-way race by David Vitter, the sole Republican in that race.  Even then, Kennedy ran as a center-right candidate.

Karl Rove targeted Kennedy as a top recruit for this cycle, attempting to take advantage of Landrieu’s vulnerablitiy.  Landrieu was roundly criticized for not doing enough in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Futher contributing to her vulnerability are the state’s Republican trend, the fact that 2008 is a Presidential election year, and the displacement of thousands of New Orleans voters by the Hurricane.

Kennedy is a strong candidate, having served as state Treasurer since 1999.  He will be the latest in a series of party-switchers in his state, a list that includes Republican Senator David Vitter and two of the state’s GOP Congressmen.  Landrieu isi now and will likely remain the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrat.  Look for the dollars to flow into this race from both parties as the Democrats attempt to grasp what little life they will have left in the state after Bobby Jindal wins the Governor’s race in a landslide this November.

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