“With respect to this election,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said, “It’s time.”
The It’s Time campaign, headed by presidential candidate and mass communication junior Mia LeJeune and her runningmate and English junior Angelina Cantelli, posted a 15-second video endorsement from Edwards on its social media accounts around 8 p.m. on March 24, with less than four hours left to vote.
“I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know Mia LeJeune,” Edwards said. “I can highly recommend her for your next president. Vote It’s Time.”
This is the first time that Louisiana’s governor has ever publicly supported a Student Government campaign, according to the ticket’s campaign manager Charlie Stephens.
“I think the governor recognizes the hard work put in by our team,” Stephens said. “This is a historic ticket in many ways breaking barriers on a multitude of fronts. JBE’s endorsement is representative of how impactful a LeJeune-Cantelli administration would be on the student body,” he said.
The post garnered attention quickly, with LSU students, faculty, and members of the Louisiana legislature weighing in with their opinions.
A staff member on the Bowman-Milligan campaign posted a tweet condemning the It’s Time campaign for hypocrisy. He said that Edwards “won’t condemn” LSU’s treatment of victims of sexual assault, a demographic that It’s Time has vowed to advocate for.
“Is It’s Time really about holding admin and politicians accountable or are y’all just career chasing?” the tweet asks.
An endorsement from the man that won’t condemn the actions that silenced the victims that your campaign advocates for?Smh, the hypocrisy.Is It’s Time really about holding admin and politicians accountable or are y’all just career chasing?— Devin J. Scott (@DevinJScott) March 25, 2021
Stephens said that after Bowman-Milligan posted an endorsement from LSU quarterback Myles Brennan on its social media, the campaign’s supporters have no grounds question It’s Time’s ability to advocate for sexual assault survivors.
“It’s hard to make the sexual assault argument when [Bowman-Milligan] has a head football player endorsing [its] campaign,” Stephens said. “Myles hasn’t said anything in support of his team’s sexual assault victims.”
One student tweeted in response to negative feedback, pointing out a double standard for women in SG campaigns.
"If a man ran his campaign like this, y'all wouldn't be talking so much," the tweet read.
i’m just saying if a man ran his campaign like this, y’all wouldn’t be talking so much— dev💛💛 (@devinmecheee) March 25, 2021
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives Tanner Magee quote-tweeted the governor’s endorsement, along with State Representative Aimee Freeman.
I’m old enough to remember the Governor’s response to LSU’s handling of the sexual assault allegation was it was just right. Not too harsh-just harsh enough. https://t.co/5MIc3PI3fq— Tanner Magee (@TannerDMagee) March 25, 2021
Stephens said that Edwards’ son, John Miller Edwards, is on the It’s Time campaign.
LSU’s election code does not prohibit endorsements from people who hold public office.