BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Democratic Party is having a leadership shake up as frustrations within the party rise to the top. On Tuesday night, 1st Vice Chair Rep. C. Travis Johnson announced he would be resigning from his position effective immediately.
Members have recently shared frustrations over Chair Katie Bernhardt releasing a video that teases a potential gubernatorial run.
In his resignation letter, Johnson states, “After witnessing the most recent activity by our top leader, I have lost faith that the party will never be able to recover during the rest of this term, due to long-lasting effects of poor decision making.”
Bernhardt responded to some of the criticisms of the video saying the response shows how relevant the party is. She also said she and Johnson have not always seen eye to eye and hopes to move forward and focus on upcoming elections.
Johnson identifies as a moderate Democrat and said there are few in the state now. He said he believed Bernhardt would bring in more moderates in her position but does not think she has been able to do so. He also said he, and the other vice chairs, were often shut out of the “one-woman show” and he didn’t want his name associated with some of her decisions or plans.
He claims members of the Democratic State Central Committee are asking her to resign, and Johnson did not have interest in becoming the chair if that should happen. There has to be an official meeting to make any movement on her removal, if that is the will of the committee.
Recently state Rep. Mandie Landry, I-New Orleans, left the party, and now has no affiliation. She said her decision was based on investments on Democrat vs Democrat races and the need for better recruitment.
“I think what some of us have been seeing for months and even a couple of years now (is) the lack of leadership and cannibalizing of other Democrats. Now people are seeing outside of the political bubble and we’re all embarrassed,” said Landry.
She hopes her move will bring attention to ongoing frustrations and catch the public’s attention.
“It might have to evolve a lot more quicker. Our party, just for a while now, has not had much connection with recruiting, or registration, or much with grassroots groups,” Landry said.
Bernhardt said the party is on “solid ground to go into the election cycle” and is proud of the work she has done since becoming the chair in 2020.