LOUISIANA (KPEL News) - Attorney General Jeff Landry appears to have cut off potential rivals from his own party by securing an endorsement for Governor in the 2023 election from the Louisiana Republican Party.

According to Jeremy Alford, publisher of LaPolitics Weekly, the state party voted late on Sunday night to make the endorsement, which gives Landry an early advantage going into a potentially tough election year.

As Alford noted on Twitter, there may be some backlash from other candidates who were eyeing the field.

Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, who has for weeks teased a future announcement, blasted the move in a tweet of his own, comparing it to "communist China."

His comments are similar to those made last week when rumors of maneuvering behind the scenes were first reported by Alford. USA Today Network's Greg Hillburn reported on comments made by both Nungesser and Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder, who likewise has been eyeing a run for governor.

"Shame on these people for trying to manipulate the system," Nungesser said last week. "It's sad they're trying to rig this without giving the people of the party or the state a fair vote. Why now? What are they scared of? They're dividing the party and trying to strong-arm people."

Schroder provided a similar statement.

“There are a lot of solid conservative Republicans planning to run for governor and all Republicans deserve a right to decide," Schroder said. "Trying to rig the process is exactly what all Republicans should stand firm in opposing.“

According to Alford in a special report, state Senator Sharon Hewitt was also critical of the move.

“The citizens of Louisiana do not need back room deals and political insiders telling them who should be our next governor," she said in a statement. "They are fully capable of deciding this themselves.”

There is currently no clear Democratic challenger to Landry for 2023, though there have been rumors that state transportation secretary Dr. Shawn Wilson was being pushed by current Governor John Bel Edwards.

Other interested candidates may include Gary Chambers, who is currently running for U.S. Senate against Sen. John Kennedy; U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, who has previously been censured by the state GOP; and Rep. Garrett Graves.

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