Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, has won the race to become the state’s next governor.
The win flips the seat held by Democrats for the past eight years.
Landry and Democrat Shawn Wilson were the frontrunners to replace Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, who cannot seek re-election due to term limits.
The 52-year-old reached the 50% threshold in Saturday’s race to avoid a runoff.
Congratulations to my friend AG Jeff Landry who is now the new governor of Louisiana having flipped the seat from blue to red! pic.twitter.com/Xvui5CNyx9
— Robert W Malone, MD (@RWMaloneMD) October 15, 2023
#Breaking :Republican Jeff Landry has won the Louisiana Governors race and flipped the seat with 52 percent of the vote. Because it was a runoff state candidates needed at least 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff.
This is huge! Democrats held this seat and spent a lot of… pic.twitter.com/XXzlhi3bmr
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) October 15, 2023
“Thankful beyond belief. I’m ready to get to work for Louisiana!” Landry said.
Thankful beyond belief. I’m ready to get to work for Louisiana!
— Jeff Landry (@JeffLandry) October 15, 2023
Fox News reports:
As the first major test for Republicans and Democrats ahead of the 2024 elections, the outcome could signal momentum for the GOP going into this year’s remaining races, as well as the presidential election year.
Wilson received an endorsement from Bel Edwards early in the race, and told Fox News Digital earlier this week that his experience working across the aisle showed he had the ability to govern over a state made up largely of conservatives despite being a Democrat. Bel Edwards served two terms and maintained an above-water popularity under the same circumstances.
However, Landry told Fox in an interview early on in the race that it was time to end Democrat rule over the state, and ran on a platform of bringing crime in Louisiana under control, as well as improving Louisiana’s standing in areas like education and the economy compared to other Southern states.
Landry was the favorite to win the race, but a range of recent polls suggested neither candidate would reach the 50% threshold on Saturday and would be forced into a November runoff.
“Today’s election says that our state is united,” Landry said Saturday night, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s a wake up call and it’s 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,” he added.
Spent a good part of the last year working on the Louisiana gubernatorial race.
People thought I was crazy for thinking we could win outright.
Congratulations Governor-Elect Jeff Landry.
Thank you to everyone that wrote letters to new movers.
Holy cow. We did it.
— #ThePersistence (@ScottPresler) October 15, 2023
By garnering more than half of the votes, Landry avoided an expected runoff under the state’s “jungle primary” system. The last time there wasn’t a gubernatorial runoff in Louisiana was in 2011 and 2007, when Bobby Jindal, a Republican, won the state’s top position.
The governor-elect, who celebrated with supporters during a watch party in Broussard, Louisiana, described the election as “historic.”
Landry, 52, has raised the profile of attorney general since taking office in 2016. He has used his office to champion conservative policy positions. More recently, Landry has been in the spotlight over his involvement and staunch support of Louisiana laws that have drawn much debate, including banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, the state’s near-total abortion ban that doesn’t have exceptions for cases of rape and incest, and a law restricting youths’ access to “sexually explicit material” in libraries, which opponents fear will target LGBTQ+ books.
Landry has repeatedly clashed with Edwards over matters in the state, including LGBTQ rights, state finances and the death penalty. However the Republican has also repeatedly put Louisiana in national fights, including over President Joe Biden’s policies that limit oil and gas production and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.