Upon January’s arrival, Republicans will control every elected statewide office in once-bipartisan Louisiana after the GOP swept runoff races Saturday for attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer.
The Republican success, in a state that has had a centrist Democrat in the governor’s office for the past eight years, means that political conservatives have secured all of Louisiana’s statewide offices for the first time since 2015. Republicans secured the governor’s mansion in October and also hold a two-third supermajority in the state house as well as the senate.
Liz Murrill was elected as attorney general, Nancy Landry as secretary of state and John Fleming as treasurer. Murrill and Landry are the first women in Louisiana to be elected attorney general and secretary of state.
Saturday’s election completes the shaping of Louisiana’s next executive branch. Most incumbents didn’t seek re-election and opened the door for new leadership in some of the most powerful positions.
Louisiana’s gubernatorial election was decided on 14 October when Jeff Landry, a Republican backed by former president Donald Trump, won a multi-primary party outright and avoided a runoff.
The outgoing governor, John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the US’s Deep South, was unable to run for re-election due to term limits.
Also in October, lieutenant governor Billy Nungesser and commissioner of agriculture Mike Strain were Republican incumbents who won re-election. And Republican Tim Temple was newly elected as insurance commissioner.
Despite a low voter turnout, Saturday’s election caught Trump’s eye. The former president and favorite to clinch the Republicans’ 2024 White House nomination endorsed the GOP’s candidates in each of the three statewide races, which featured little meaningful resistance from Louisiana’s Democratic party.
The three Republicans “are outstanding in every way and have my complete and total endorsement”, Trump said in a statement issued by the Louisiana Republican party.
Murrill will replace her boss Jeff Landry when he becomes governor in January. Murrill’s opponent in the attorney general race was Lindsey Cheek, a New Orleans-based Democratic trial attorney.
The attorney general represents the state in a variety of legal disputes. However, Landry often made statewide and national headlines in the role, including his support for legislation banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths and a near-total abortion ban with no exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
Murrill has joined Landry in championing conservative causes, including a lawsuit against the Joe Biden White House for the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.
On the campaign trail, Murrill pledged to fight overreach by the federal government, defending Louisiana’s abortion ban and pushing a tough-on-crime rhetoric that is antithetical to progressive criminal justice reforms.
Fleming’s victory, meanwhile, vaulted a close Trump ally into the state treasurer’s office. Fleming is a conservative former congressman who co-founded the US House Freedom Caucus.
After his time in Congress, Fleming served as a member of the Trump administration. He faced Dustin Granger, a Democratic financial adviser based in Lake Charles, in Saturday’s runoff.
Nancy Landry, who is not related to Jeff Landry, beat Gwen Collins-Greenup – a Democrat from Louisiana’s capital of Baton Rouge – in the race for secretary of state. Nancy Landry is a former state House member from Lafayette and has worked in the secretary of state’s office for four years.
She will handle replacing Louisiana’s outdated voting machines, which don’t produce the paper ballots critical to ensuring accurate election results.
The lengthy and ongoing replacement process was thrust into the national spotlight after allegations of bid-rigging and when conspiracy theorists who support Trump’s lies that fraudsters robbed him of re-election in 2020 inserted themselves into the public dialogue.
Though Landry is Louisiana’s first woman elected to secretary of state, the first woman to hold the position was Alice Lee Grosjean. Grosjean was appointed in 1930 by then-governor Huey P Long after the secretary of state at the time, James Bailey, died suddenly of pneumonia.
The Associated Press contributed reporting
Source: US Politics - theguardian.com