Louisiana voters to decide governor, state legislative races Saturday
The last statewide elections of 2019 take place Saturday, Nov. 16, as Louisiana holds general elections for offices where no candidate received a majority of votes in the primary elections held Oct. 12. Louisiana voters will elect a governor and secretary of state, as well as five state Senators and 24 members of the state House.
There has been significant satellite spending by both parties in the weeks leading up to the election. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) contributed $100,000 to the House Democratic Campaign Committee of Louisiana, the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee of Louisiana, and Louisiana Democrats at the end of October. The NDRC is a 527 group chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that aims to position Democrats favorably for the round of redistricting following the 2020 census. Politico reported that the Republican National Committee spent $1 million on get-out-the-vote efforts in the days leading up to the election, bringing their contributions to $2 million.
Republicans secured a supermajority in the state Senate in the October 12 primary. Heading into Saturday’s election, Republicans are seven seats shy of a 70-seat supermajority in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Party control of eight state House seats will be decided in the general election. Republican candidates need to win all seven races in which they are facing a Democratic or independent candidate in order to win a veto-proof House majority. The other 16 races feature two candidates from the same party.
These are the last legislative elections before the state government redraws congressional and state legislative districts following the 2020 census. If Republicans win veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers, they will have control over Louisiana’s redistricting process, regardless of the gubernatorial election’s outcome.
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and businessman Eddie Rispone (R) will face off in the state’s gubernatorial general election. In the Oct. 12 primary, Edwards finished first with 46.6% of the vote, Rispone was second with 27.4% and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R) was third with 23.6%.
In-person early voting for the general election took place November 2-9. The total number of early votes cast broke a record for a non-presidential election in Louisiana, with 489,649 people voting early in person (451,171) or by absentee ballot (38,478). Here are the total number of early votes cast by year:
In the previous four Louisiana gubernatorial races decided in a general election, the total votes cast increased—from between 3.3% and 11.5%—from the primary to the general, as shown in the chart below:
*—There is no figure listed in the “Total votes – General election” column in 1999, 2007, and 2011 as the gubernatorial race in those years was decided in the primary election when one candidate received a majority of the votes cast.