Eight candidates are running in the all-party primary for Louisiana Secretary of State on Oct. 14, 2023. Incumbent Kyle Ardoin (R) is not running for re-election.
According to Louisiana Illuminator’s Greg LaRose, “Louisiana’s next secretary of state should expect a fairly intense spotlight” because they will be responsible for “replacing the voting machines the state uses, a process current office holder Kyle Ardoin has had to restart twice. LaRose also wrote that the winner will have to “help parish election officials inject new blood into their election workforce” and “keep a massive database of business records current and accurate, while making sure access is reliable.”
Gwen Collins-Greenup (D), Mike Francis (R), Nancy Landry (R), and Clay Schexnayder (R) have led in polling and media attention.
Collins-Greenup, a private attorney, ran for secretary of state in 2019 and in the 2018 special election. She advanced to the general election in both years, losing to Ardoin 59-47% on both occasions. Collins-Greenup said she was running “to strengthen our businesses, secure our elections, and protect every eligible Louisiana citizen’s right to vote.”
Francis has served on the Louisiana Public Service Commission since 2017. He owns a drilling company on the Gulf Coast and was chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party from 1994 to 2000. Francis said he decided to run “because of the threat of going back to paper ballots during the election,” which he said election officials do not support.
Landry, a former state representative, has served as Louisiana’s First Assistant Secretary of State since 2019. Landry emphasized her experience in that role: “While serving as First Assistant Secretary of State, I gained the critical experience needed for the upcoming elections and beyond. With everything on the line, 2024 might be the most important election in our lifetime. There is no time for a Secretary of State who needs on-the-job training.”
Schexnayder has served in the Louisiana House of Representatives since 2012 and as the chamber’s speaker since January 2020. In his campaign announcement, Schexnayder said Ardoin “is leaving behind one of the most secure and respected election divisions in the country. I want to build on that success until Louisiana elections are ranked number one in the nation.”
Ardoin announced he would not run for re-election in April 2023, citing criticism surrounding how elections were administered in the state. “The vast majority of Louisiana’s voters know that our elections are secure and accurate, and it is shameful and outright dangerous that a small minority of vocal individuals have chosen to denigrate the hard work of our election staff and spread unproven falsehoods.”
Louisiana elections use the majority-vote system. All candidates compete in the same primary. A candidate who gets more than 50% of the vote wins outright. If no candidate wins outright, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of their partisan affiliation. This year’s general election is on Nov. 18.
Arthur Morrell (D), Thomas Kennedy III (R), Brandon Trosclair (R), and Amanda Smith Jennings (Independent) are also running.