How crowded will field get for Louisiana governor’s race?

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 7:29 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Seven Louisianans who want to become the state’s next governor are not wasting time getting their messages out, with the help of social media.

Five Republicans, one Democrat and an Independent so far have announced their candidacies. Qualifying for the election is not until August, so the field could still grow between now and Aug. 10.

“Things will start to shake out within the next few months, as all of the other candidates begin to run their TV ads and begin to do their direct mail,” Dillard University political analyst Robert Collins said.

The early candidates have posted videos to their social media pages, highlighting what they would do if elected governor.

Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt talks about her candidacy in a Facebook post.

“The talkers have had their say, now it’s time for a governor who will get things done,” she says. “That’s why I’m running to lead this great state that I love. As governor, I will put my business experience to work.”

In a video on his campaign social media page, Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry says, “I’m tired of people leaving our state and I’m angry that our children’s education is not a priority. I’m sick of our big cities being run like third-world nations. We can fix our broken tax system.”

Richard Nelson, a Republican serving in the House of Representatives, says in his campaign video, “This election, we’ll have a choice between career politicians and real solutions. Big money or big ideas. I’m 36 years old. I’m not just in this for the next four years. I’m fighting for the next 40 years.”

Republican state Treasurer John Schroder also is running. In a Facebook video, he stirs a pot of food and says, “Take back our communities and put the criminals in jail. I’m John Schroder. I’m running for governor because I believe that with the right recipe, Louisiana’s best days are yet to come.”

Republican Stephen Waguespack recently resigned as president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. He posted a video on Twitter that was shot in the Gonzales neighborhood where he grew up.

“You want to keep your family here, you want to attract new families and we want to stay together, so I’m running to do that,” he says. “So, please join me, support me, in running for governor.”

Shawn Wilson resigned from his job as secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development and is the only announced Democrat in the race. He says in a campaign video that he can build bridges with people.

“We will always face obstacles,” he says. “To overcome them requires leaders that will work with everyone at all levels of government, regardless of party or ideology, from fighting crime in our cities to fighting floods of our homes and our businesses.”

And Hunter Lundy, an attorney running as an Independent, says in his campaign video, “I’m a Christian, an Independent, a lawyer and a small businessman, and I’m running for governor. I have nothing in this politics game but a servant’s heart.”

Collins said he thinks candidates are jockeying for a spot in an anticipated runoff, and that if no other Democrats enter the race Wilson, will be a runoff contender.

“It’s basically a race to see who’s going to get into the runoff with Shawn Wilson. As of right now, Shawn Wilson is the only major Democrat who has announced,” Collins said. “What you’re going to see in this first round is basically the Republicans attacking each other. The Republican side of the ledger is going to be much more chaotic.”

The candidates already are making crime a central campaign issue.

“All of the polling shows that, right now, the No. 1 issue on the minds of the voters is crime, especially in the urban areas of the state,” Collins said. “I think we can expect to see all of the gubernatorial candidates focusing on crime, which is going to be unusual. Generally speaking, crime is a local issue. Crime is something that mayors and sheriffs talk about.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards is term-limited and cannot seek another term. The gubernatorial primary election is Oct. 14, and the general election is Nov. 18.

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