Nine candidates are running in the all-party primary in the open-seat election for governor of Louisiana on Oct. 14. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D)—who was first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019—is term-limited. Jeff Landry (R), Hunter Lundy (I), John Schroder (R), and Shawn Wilson (D) have the most campaign receipts and media attention.
Louisiana conducts its elections using a majority-vote system. All candidates appear on the same ballot in the primary, and a candidate can win outright by receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate does that, the top two vote recipients—regardless of party—advance to the general election. This year’s general election will take place on Nov. 18.
Landry is the state’s attorney general and was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. He also served in the U.S. House from 2011 to 2013 and worked in law enforcement and oil and gas exploration. He was endorsed by former President Donald Trump (R) on May 8 and said in a campaign ad that his top priority would be reducing crime: “Crime was the number one issue on the voters’ minds here in Louisiana. I don’t need any more statistics other than that. That’s real people seeing real things and having real crime affect them.”
Lundy is an attorney who ran for the U.S. House as a Democrat in 1996. He said he was running for governor because “People need hope and we need some change, and we need improvements. We’re a wonderful state with wonderful people and interesting culture, but we’ve been talking about the same things for 50 years and we’re not doing anything about them. I’m a guy who’s going to do things and not talk about them. Through April 7, Lundy had loaned $1,900,000 to his campaign.
Schroder is the state treasurer. He was elected to that office in a special election in 2017 and re-elected in 2019. He also served in the state House of Representatives from 2008 to 2017. He served in the criminal investigation division of the U.S. Army and worked as a police detective and in the real estate and homebuilding industries. Schroder listed his priorities when he announced he was running on Feb. 10: “We must take back our communities from criminals, reform Louisiana’s corrupt reputation, uphold the rights of parents and empower our teachers so we can improve education, strengthen our economy with a workforce equipped for the 21st century and tackle our infrastructure and tax policy.”
Wilson was the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development from 2016 to March 2023. His previous experience includes working as the assistant dean of students at the University of Louisiana, and as the chief of staff of the state transportation department. Wilson said he had worked in a bipartisan manner during his career and would continue that as governor: “We will always face obstacles. 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 flooding in our homes and businesses.”
The Lafayette Daily Advertiser’s Greg Hilburn wrote in March that “the pressure will build among the Republicans to see if any of them can catch and then pass Republican front-running Attorney General Jeff Landry. That’s what it will take to join Democrat Shawn Wilson, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ former transportation secretary, in advancing to a two-person runoff election.”
From 1877 to 1980, every governor of the state was a Democrat. Since 1980, Louisiana has alternated between Democratic and Republican governors with Republicans holding the office for 24 years and Democrats for 20 years. From 1976 to 2020, the Republican candidate won Louisiana nine times and the Democratic candidate has won the state two times. President Donald Trump (R) carried the state over Joe Biden (D) in the 2020 presidential election, 59% to 40%.