Republican Jeff Landry Secures Louisiana Governorship, Ending Democrats’ Two-Term Hold

 Republican Jeff Landry Secures Louisiana Governorship, Ending Democrats’ Two-Term Hold

Valerie Plesch / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

In a decisive victory on Saturday night, Republican state Attorney General Jeff Landry emerged triumphant in the all-party primary for the Louisiana governorship, marking the end of the Democrats’ two-term reign over the state.

The Associated Press officially declared Landry the winner after 11 p.m. ET, as he secured over 51% of the vote in a crowded field of 16 candidates, encompassing Democrats, independents, and Republicans.

This outcome sets the stage for a significant shift in Louisiana politics and precedes two more gubernatorial elections in red states this fall. Democratic Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky is seeking reelection on November 7, while Republican Governor Tate Reeves is also pursuing a second term in Mississippi.

Despite the formidable competition posed by a large Republican contingent in the Louisiana race, it was anticipated that Landry might face a one-on-one runoff with the leading Democratic contender, former state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson. However, Landry, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, managed to consolidate substantial support.

Wilson secured the second spot with 26% of the vote, while the third-place Republican candidate, Stephen Waguespack, trailed behind with a mere 6%.

Following his victory, Landry will succeed Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who was term-limited after his previous wins in the deep red state in 2015 and 2019. Landry, a former Republican member of Congress, has vocally championed the state’s near-total abortion ban and highlighted his efforts as attorney general in addressing the opioid crisis and tackling crime.

Throughout the campaign, Landry’s TV advertisements focused on criminal justice, showcasing his career as a police officer and his tenure as attorney general. He emphasized, “Your criminal justice system is broken… We’re going to hold everyone, and I mean everyone, accountable for violent crime.”

Landry’s status as the GOP frontrunner was bolstered by his top fundraising position, having spent nearly $9 million on TV ads, as reported by AdImpact, an ad-tracking platform. Moreover, he received endorsements from a host of elected Republicans, including Senator Bill Cassidy, and Representatives Steve Scalise, Clay Higgins, and Mike Johnson, in addition to the backing of former President Trump.

In contrast, Wilson’s campaign allocated over $730,000 for TV advertising, a considerably smaller amount compared to Landry’s efforts. Wilson centered his campaign on promises to “bridge divides” and “find common ground,” earning endorsements from Governor Edwards, the state Democratic Party, and Democratic Representative Troy Carter.

During the campaign, Wilson also found himself the target of attack ads financed by a group affiliated with the Republican Governors Association, which sought to link him to President Joe Biden by labeling him as “Biden’s buddy.”

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