NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)—The next person to enter the race for governor could be the current chair of the Louisiana Democratic party.
Katie Bernhardt is now the focus of a new TV commercial. Some say it is a campaign ad, announcing her run for governor.
The commercial hit social media Sunday night and is now said to be airing on Louisiana TV stations as of Monday. According to its publisher, it was paid for by Team Louisiana PAC and has garnered quite the response.
In the commercial, Bernhardt calls herself a local business owner and says she is ready to work hard for our children’s future.
University of New Orleans political scientist Edward Chervenak says it is still unclear if Bernhardt is announcing her run for governor.
“She does not come out and say that she’s running for governor,” Chervenak said. “What she is attempting to do is raise her profile, get her name, and get her face out there. If she is interested in running for governor, [she is] basically gauging whether people will respond to this ad or not.”
Chervenack says the Lafayette native can choose to run even though she is currently serving as Democratic party chair.
“I mean, certainly, she has every right to run as a candidate since she would have the organizational and monetary backing of the Democratic party, I assume, but I also assume that she would have to resign as the head of the state Democratic party if she wants to run for governor,” Chervenak said.
While serving as Democratic party chair, Bernhardt took the bulk of the blame when the party failed to endorse a single candidate in the senator’s race this past November, which is why some on Twitter say this move is concerning.
However, according to Chervenak, it is possible that something in the commercial caused a stir among Democrats.
“The only thing that may upset a number of Democrats is when she fired the shotgun in the ad, and so she’s showing she’s pro-gun, anti-gun control.”
Chervenak believes Bernhardt knows she will have to appeal to a more conservative Democrat if she does decide to run for governor, like Governor John Bel Edwards.
“That was one of John Bel Edwards’ positions, that he was pro-gun and that he was pro-life, so this kind of conservative, social Democrat, and I think she’s playing into that as well,” Chervenak said.
We called a phone number that is believed to belong to Bernhardt, requesting an interview or statement, and we did not hear back. We also reached out to the Louisiana Democratic Party and did not hear back.