An early look at Louisiana’s upcoming gubernatorial primary

Welcome to the Friday, August 18, Brew. 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 16 candidates to face off in Louisiana’s Oct. 14 gubernatorial primary
  2. Three Richland, Wash., school board members removed from office after successful recall
  3. #FridayTrivia: Republicans make up what percentage of all state legislators?

16 candidates to face off in Louisiana’s Oct. 14 gubernatorial primary

We’re just under two months away from Louisiana’s Oct. 14 gubernatorial primary, which will have 16 candidates on the ballot, one of whom will become the state’s new governor. Incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), first elected in 2015, is term-limited.

Louisiana conducts its elections using a unique majority-vote system. All candidates appear with party labels on the same primary ballot. A candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote wins outright, and the general election is canceled. Otherwise, the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election, which will be on Nov. 18.

Since 1983, six gubernatorial races have advanced to a general election and four were decided outright in primaries.

Four candidates—Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), attorney Hunter Lundy (I), Treasurer John Schroder (R), and former Secretary of Transportation and Development Shawn Wilson (D)—have raised the most money and received the most media attention.

Here’s a look at what each of those candidates is saying on the campaign trail:

Landry said, “Crime was the number one issue on the voters’ minds … I don’t need any more statistics than that. That’s real people seeing real things and having real crime affect them.” Landry also supports cutting taxes and business regulations, saying, “heavy-handed regulation from Baton Rouge and Washington D.C. threatens Louisiana jobs and hurts our local small businesses.”

Lundy said he is running as an independent to bridge partisan divisions, saying, “We’ve seen this divisive political structure from Washington make its way to Baton Rouge and I think it’s obstructed the success of consensus and going forward.” Lundy also said he would improve elementary education, particularly for low-income students, fund the state’s college scholarships program, and invest in occupational training.

Schroder says his priorities are: “[T]ake back our communities from criminals, reform Louisiana’s corrupt reputation, uphold the rights of parents and empower our teachers … strengthen our workforce … and tackle our infrastructure and tax policy.”

Wilson completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Wilson said, “I will work with members of all parties to find middle ground solutions that benefit all Louisianans” and “help us set new standards in education, public safety, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic development.” You can read Wilson’s full survey responses here.

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser’s Greg Hilburn wrote, “The pressure will build among Republicans to see if any of them can catch and then pass … Landry. That’s what it will take to join … Wilson … in advancing to a two-person runoff election.”

Democrats controlled Louisiana’s governorship from 1877 to 1980. Since then, Republicans have held the office for 24 years and Democrats for 20. 

Trump carried the state in 2020 over Joe Biden (D), 59% to 40%. Two race forecasters rate this election as Lean Republican, and one rates it as Likely Republican.

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Three Richland, Wash., school board members removed from office after successful recall

Washington held school board primaries on Aug. 1. At the same time, Richland School District voters also went to the polls to decide whether to recall three of the five board members.

The official results were certified on Tuesday—voters removed Semi Bird, Audra Byrd, and Kari Williams from office.

Those three board positions are now vacant. Usually, the board itself votes to fill vacancies. But, with only two board members remaining, it lacks the quorum needed to conduct business.

Under state law, Educational Services District (ESD) 123, a not-for-profit organization in southeastern Washington, will appoint one member to the board so it meets its three-member quorum. Those three members will then fill the remaining two vacancies.

We last told you about this recall back in July. Recall supporters said their campaign stemmed from a special meeting held in 2022 during the coronavirus pandemic. At that meeting, the three members voted to make masks optional while a statewide mask requirement was in place.

Coronavirus-related recall efforts at all levels of government have become more uncommon in recent years. They accounted for 37% of all recall efforts in 2020 and 2021 before dropping to 13% in 2022. They’ve made up 1% of all efforts in 2023.

Before the Richland recall, 12 elected officials had been removed from office in coronavirus-related recalls nationwide, making Bird, Byrd, and Williams the 13th, 14th, and 15th removals.

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#FridayTrivia: Republicans make up what percentage of all state legislators?

In Monday’s Brew, we brought you our latest monthly update on the partisan breakdown of all 7,386 state legislators. While Democrats gained two seats between June and July, Republicans still hold a majority of all state legislative seats and have since after the 2010 elections.

As of July 2023, Republicans make up what percentage of all state legislators?

  1. 55%
  2. 51%
  3. 62%
  4. 58%