BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Kennedy says he'll announce whether he's entering the Louisiana governor's race before Dec. 1, ending persistent speculation about his 2019 election intentions.

The Republican senator released the timetable Tuesday. If he runs, Kennedy will be the second GOP contender to challenge Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards, who is seeking a second term as governor.

Kennedy would be a formidable candidate, maintaining high approval ratings with voters.

Kennedy appeared to lean toward running in his statement. He said he loves his Senate job, but finds it "hard to stomach what is happening in Louisiana right now."

Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone filed paperwork declaring his candidacy for the gubernatorial election two weeks ago. The Republican said he's willing to spend $5 million of his own money to campaign.

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