In a major victory for the Republican Party, Attorney General Jeff Landry, backed by former President Donald Trump, has emerged as the winner of the Louisiana governor’s race. The win marks a shift from Democratic leadership in the state, as Landry will replace current Governor John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South. Edwards was unable to seek re-election due to consecutive term limits.
Landry’s victory is particularly significant as he garnered more than half of the votes in the state’s “jungle primary” system, avoiding the need for a runoff. This marked a “historic” moment in Louisiana politics, where gubernatorial runoffs have been common in recent years.
“Today’s election says that our state is united,” Landry said during his victory speech Saturday night. “It’s a wake-up call and a message that everyone should hear loud and clear, that we the people in this state are going to expect more out of our government from here on out.”
Jeff Landry, aged 52, has held the position of attorney general since 2016 and has used the office to champion conservative policy positions. He has been involved in high-profile cases and legal battles, including advocating for Louisiana laws related to gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, strict abortion regulations, and restrictions on access to explicit materials in libraries.
Throughout the campaign, Landry received endorsements from notable Republicans, including former President Trump and U.S. Representative Steve Scalise. He also benefited from strong fundraising support, giving him a significant advantage over his opponents.
One of Landry’s key priorities as governor will be addressing crime in urban areas. He has emphasized a tough-on-crime stance, calling for more transparency in the justice system and supporting capital punishment. Louisiana currently has the second-highest murder rate per capita in the United States.
Landry’s campaign faced criticism from opponents, who accused him of being a bully and engaging in backroom deals to gain support. He also faced scrutiny for his limited participation in televised debates.
Among the other gubernatorial candidates were Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, independent candidate Hunter Lundy, Republican state Treasurer John Schroder, former head of a powerful business group Stephen Waguespack, and former head of Louisiana’s Transportation and Development Department Shawn Wilson.
Wilson, the sole major Democratic candidate, acknowledged Landry’s victory in a concession speech and urged the governor-elect to continue Medicaid expansion, increase teacher salaries, and improve education in the state.
Additionally, the election featured several other statewide contests and ballot measures. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser won re-election, while races for attorney general, state treasurer, and secretary of state will be decided in November runoffs. Notably, the new secretary of state will replace Louisiana’s outdated voting machines to ensure accurate election results.
In this election, hundreds of localized races took place, including all 39 Senate seats and 105 House seats, with a significant number of incumbents running unopposed.