Gubernatorial front-runner Jeff Landry will not attend Gray TV debate

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 1:07 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Attorney General Jeff Landry, the Republican front-runner in the race for Louisiana governor, has formally declined an invitation to share the debate stage with two other leading candidates.

A spokesperson for Landry’s campaign made the announcement on Fri., Sept. 22.

Gray TV will host its gubernatorial debate on Tues., Sep. 26 at the University of New Orleans.

To qualify for the debate, candidates were required to tally 5% or higher in a Gray-commissioned poll.

Landry, Transportation Secretary and Democratic candidate Shawn Wilson, and Republican Stephen Waguespack, president of one of the state’s most powerful business lobbying groups, met the criteria.

Wilson and Waguespack accepted invitations to participate.

Fox 8 political analyst Mike Sherman calls Landry’s decision to not participate in the debate, which will air in every TV market in the state, “disappointing.” He says it’s not surprising, since Landry has a dominant lead in all of the polls and there’s no “strategic advantage” for him to take part in the debate and risk making a gaffe that could hurt his campaign.

“Thank you for inviting Jeff Landry to the Gray TV gubernatorial debate,” said Kate Kelly, communications director for Landry’s campaign, in a statement to Fox 8. “After reviewing everything you sent over as well as taking into account Jeff’s campaign schedule, we have decided to decline the invitation. Again, thank you for the invite and please reach out again for future debates or events.”


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Gray TV poll shows Landry leading in primary

On Thursday, Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced his endorsement for Landry. The Times-Picayune endorsed Waguespack.

Governor John Bel Edwards had previously announced his endorsement for Wilson.

State Rep. Richard Nelson bowed out of the race and endorsed Landry.

The primary election will be held on Oct. 14.

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