Gubernatorial Election in Louisiana Fuels Republican Aspirations as Democrats Strive to Retain Control

by Sophia Chen
Louisiana gubernatorial election

As the state of Louisiana gears up for its gubernatorial election this Saturday, Republicans are keen to recapture the governorship, a position they have not held for the past eight years. Democrats, on the other hand, aim to maintain their hold on the prestigious office, especially in a state where the majority of votes in the last two presidential elections went to Donald Trump.

The electoral landscape comprises six key contenders—four from the Republican Party, one Democrat, and one independent candidate. They are all aiming to succeed the outgoing Governor John Bel Edwards, the sole Democratic governor in the Deep South. Edwards is stepping down due to the state’s consecutive term-limit regulations, providing a significant opportunity for Republicans to assume the state’s highest office.

This year’s gubernatorial election in Louisiana is one of three taking place this autumn, with Mississippi and Kentucky also electing their governors.

The election employs a “jungle primary” system, where all 14 candidates, regardless of their political affiliation, will appear on the same ballot this Saturday. Should no candidate secure over 50% of the vote, the two individuals with the most votes will proceed to a runoff election scheduled for November 18.

Jeff Landry, the Republican Attorney General, is among the prominent candidates in the race. He has received noteworthy endorsements from leading figures in the Republican Party, including former President Donald Trump and U.S. Representative Steve Scalise. He has also controversially received early backing from the state’s Republican Party. Landry has maintained a considerable financial edge throughout the campaign but has also come under political scrutiny from rivals who accuse him of unsavory tactics and backroom dealings to garner support.

Other major contenders in the race include Republican State Senator Sharon Hewitt; Hunter Lundy, an independent candidate and attorney based in Lake Charles; Republican State Treasurer John Schroder; Stephen Waguespack, a former leader of a prominent business organization and a previous senior aide to ex-Governor Bobby Jindal; and Shawn Wilson, a Democrat and former head of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development.

State Representative Richard Nelson had initially entered the race but withdrew his candidacy in September, subsequently endorsing Landry. However, according to state election laws, his name will still appear on the ballot.

Given that four noteworthy Republican candidates are competing, Democrats are optimistic that their lone significant contender, Wilson, will have a viable chance. Historically, the Democratic Party has united behind a single candidate to maximize their chances of progressing to a runoff and potentially facing a weakened Republican opponent.

Apart from the gubernatorial race, the election on Saturday also includes various statewide and localized races, featuring four ballot measures and elections for all 39 Senate seats and 105 House seats. Many incumbents are running without opposition.

In addition to the governorship, several other statewide positions like attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and insurance commissioner are also open for election, with no incumbents running. For instance, Tim Temple, a former insurance executive running for the insurance commissioner position, is unopposed.

Another closely scrutinized election is for the secretary of state. The current officeholder, Republican Kyle Ardoin, has decided not to run for re-election. The individual elected to this role will have the important responsibility of updating Louisiana’s antiquated voting machines. This issue has received national attention following allegations of bid-rigging and conspiracy theories questioning the integrity of the electoral process.

Candidates for the secretary of state position include GOP State House Speaker Clay Schexnayder; First Assistant Secretary of State Nancy Landry, a Republican; Mike Francis, a public service commissioner and former state GOP chair; and Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Democrat and attorney. All of them oppose the idea of hand-counting paper ballots. Also running is Brandon Trosclair, a grocery store owner and Republican who supports hand-counting paper ballots, a suggestion that has been widely criticized by election officials.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Louisiana gubernatorial election

What is the primary focus of the upcoming Louisiana election?

The primary focus of the upcoming Louisiana election is the gubernatorial race, where Republicans aim to reclaim the governorship after an eight-year absence and Democrats seek to retain it.

What is the “jungle primary” system used in Louisiana’s gubernatorial election?

The “jungle primary” system in Louisiana allows all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, to appear on the same ballot. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff election.

Who are the key contenders in the Louisiana gubernatorial race?

The key contenders are Jeff Landry (Republican), Sharon Hewitt (Republican), John Schroder (Republican), Stephen Waguespack (Republican), Shawn Wilson (Democrat), and Hunter Lundy (Independent).

Are there any other significant elections taking place on the same day?

Yes, apart from the gubernatorial election, various statewide and localized races are also taking place, including elections for all 39 Senate seats and 105 House seats. Four ballot measures are also up for vote.

What notable endorsements have been made in the gubernatorial race?

Republican candidate Jeff Landry has received high-profile endorsements from former President Donald Trump and U.S. Representative Steve Scalise. He has also received an early and controversial endorsement from the state’s Republican Party.

What is the situation with the Secretary of State’s office in Louisiana?

The current Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin, has decided not to seek re-election. The elected candidate will have the crucial task of updating Louisiana’s outdated voting machines, which have recently been the subject of national attention due to allegations of bid-rigging and conspiracy theories.

Are there any candidates running unopposed in statewide offices?

Yes, Tim Temple, a former insurance executive vying for the position of insurance commissioner, is running unopposed.

What happens if no gubernatorial candidate receives more than 50% of the votes?

If no candidate secures more than 50% of the votes in the initial election, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will proceed to a runoff election scheduled for November 18.

Are incumbents running in the legislative races?

Yes, a significant number of incumbents are running in the legislative races for both the Senate and the House, although many are running unopposed.

More about Louisiana gubernatorial election

  • Louisiana Gubernatorial Election 2023: Candidates and Updates
  • Understanding Louisiana’s Jungle Primary System
  • List of Endorsements in the Louisiana Gubernatorial Race
  • Louisiana Statewide and Local Elections 2023: What You Need to Know
  • The Role and Responsibilities of Louisiana’s Secretary of State
  • Allegations and Controversies Surrounding Louisiana’s Voting Machines
  • Profile of Candidates Running for Secretary of State in Louisiana

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CarterJ October 15, 2023 - 1:38 am

Updating voting machines is critical, especially with all the allegations flying around. glad it got a mention.

John D October 15, 2023 - 1:57 am

Wow, this is a pretty comprehensive look at the Louisiana election. Seems like a lot’s at stake for both parties. Gonna be interesting to see how it all pans out.

DannyS October 15, 2023 - 3:31 am

Didn’t even know other statewide offices were up for grabs too. That insurance commissioner running unopposed? Talk about an easy win.

SarahL October 15, 2023 - 9:09 am

Seriously, the jungle primary system always confuses me. Thanks for breaking it down. who do y’all think will make it to the runoff?

ElaineT October 15, 2023 - 6:37 pm

Runoffs always make things more complicated but also more interesting. High stakes for sure!

Mike_91 October 15, 2023 - 11:25 pm

Endorsements seem like a big deal here. Surprised to see Trump still has that much influence in local elections.


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