Jeff Landry wins Louisiana gubernatorial election; state becoming Republican trifecta

Jeff Landry (R) won election as governor of Louisiana on Oct. 14, 2023. He won outright with 51.6% of the vote. Shawn Wilson (D) finished second with 25.9%. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D)—first elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019—was term-limited. As a result of the party change, Louisiana will become a Republican trifecta. 

Louisiana used the 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 would have taken place on Nov. 18, 2023.

Landry was the state’s attorney general and was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019. He served in the U.S. House from 2011 to 2013 and worked in law enforcement and oil and gas exploration. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Landry on May 8. Landry said in a campaign ad that his top priority was 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.”

Based on unofficial returns, 1.06 million voters participated in the gubernatorial primary this year. That’s a decrease from the previous two election cycles. In the 2019 gubernatorial election, voters cast 1.51 million ballots in the general election and 1.34 million ballots in the primary election. In the 2015 gubernatorial election, voters cast 1.15 million ballots in the general election and 1.11 million ballots in the primary election. According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, the state had 2.97 million registered voters as of Oct. 1, 2023.

From 1877 to 1980, every Louisiana governor was a Democrat. From 1980 to 2022, Louisiana 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 in the 2020 presidential election over Joe Biden (D), 59% to 40%.