Louisiana Election
Louisiana Election

2023 Election Guide: Statewide races on the ballot October 14

BATON ROUGE — For the first time in eight years, Louisiana will see a new governor lead the state.

It’s one of several statewide races on the ballot as voters head to the polls for the state’s open primary election October 14. The open primary means that if a candidate does not get at least 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will face-off on November 18.

UWK has a look at the races voters will be deciding.

View your sample ballot & check registration here

EARLY VOTING

You do not need a reason to vote early, and each parish has various locations where you can cast your ballot before the October 14 primary.

Early voting for the October 14 primary begins September 30 and runs through October 7 from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. There is no early voting on Sunday, October 1.

You will need one of the following when you go to the polls to cast your vote:

  • Driver’s license
  • Louisiana Special ID
  • LA Wallet digital driver’s license
  • United States military identification card that contains voter’s name and picture
  • Another generally recognized picture ID that contains voter’s name and signature

For a detailed list of early voting locations in your parish, login to the Secretary of State’s voter portal. For a complete list of early voting locations for the entire state, please refer to early voting locations.

Voters who have no picture ID may complete and sign a Voter Identification Affidavit in order to vote; however, it is subject to challenge by law.

GOVERNOR

The top six gubernatorial candidates based on recent polling (left to right): Hewitt, Landry, Waguespack, Lundy, Wilson and Schroder

Republicans are fighting to win back the state capital in a high-stakes contest to replace two-term Democrat John Bel Edwards, who is term limited from running again.

There will be 15 candidates on the ballot for governor — 8 Republicans, 2 Democrats, 4 Independents and 1 No Party.

Recent polls show that Republican Jeff Landry, the state’s outspoken Attorney General, is leading the race in not only name recognition but fundraising as well. A Mason-Dixon poll in September showed Landry with 40%, which is short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff.

His nearest competition is Democrat Shawn Wilson. Wilson, the state’s former Secretary of Transportation, had 24%. He has an uphill battle, with Louisiana failing to ever elect a Black candidate to statewide office since Reconstruction. But he’s far ahead of other candidates who remain in single digits.

Republicans Stephen Waguespack and John Schroder received 7% of support in the Mason-Dixon poll. Independent candidate Hunter Lundy, who has been running more TV ads ahead of the primary, is close behind with 6%.

The poll found 15% of voters still undecided.

If Landry and Wilson make it to the runoff, the poll shows Landry winning 52%-39%.

All candidates on the ballot:

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Republican incumbent Billy Nungesser will be facing a crowded field of five candidates in his fight for re-election. Nungesser needs 50% of the vote in October to avoid a runoff in November.

SECRETARY OF STATE

With incumbent Kyle Ardoin not running for re-election, Louisiana will see a new chief elections officer. The new secretary of state will be in charge of replacing the state’s aging voting machines, a task that has been the source of criticism and a reason that many believe Ardoin is not seeking another term.

Eight candidates are vying for the office with a runoff almost guaranteed for November.

“Gwen” Collins-Greenup – Democrat

  • Owner and managing member of Greenup Law, LLC
  • Southern University Law Center grad where she was student attorney in SULC’s Low-Income Taxpayers’ Clinic
  • Previously ran for Secretary of State in 2019 garnering 41% of the vote

“Mike” Francis – Republican

  • Past founder and chief executive officer of Francis Drilling Fluids, Ltd
  • Chairman of the Republican Party in Louisiana from 1994 to 2000
  • Public Service Commissioner for District 4 since 2016

Amanda “Smith” Jennings – Other

  • Staunch supporter of protecting Confederate War monuments and memorials
  • Worked on numerous local and regional campaigns
  • Previously ran for Secretary of State garnering 6.1% of the vote

Thomas J. Kennedy, III – Republican

  • Founder of TJ Kennedy Realty and Investment Services with 35 years of real estate and commercial construction experience
  • President of Kennedy Capital of Florida
  • Former COO of ASI Corp and former President of ASI South

Nancy Landry – Republican

  • First Assistant Secretary of State; advisor to Secretary Ardoin on policy & legislative matters
  • Represented House District 31 in Louisiana House of Representatives (2008-2019)
  • Served on the Committees on Civil Law, Natural Resources, House and Governmental Affairs during 2011 reapportionment, and Education, serving as Chairman in her final term

Arthur A. Morrell – Democrat

  • Clerk of Orleans Criminal District Court and parish Chief Elections Officer for 25 years (retired in 2022)
  • Represented House District 97 in Louisiana House of Representatives
  • Helped rebuild and ensure integrity of elections in New Orleans following Hurricanes Katrina & Rita

Clay Schexnayder – Republican

  • 69th Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives; elected in 2020
  • Chairman of the Agriculture, Forestry and Aquaculture Committee for four years
  • Owner and operator of CJS Works, LLC in Sorrento

Brandon Trosclair – Republican

  • Owns and operates 13 grocery stores across Louisiana and Mississippi
  • Challenged President Biden’s vaccine mandate with U.S. Supreme Court
  • Member of the Government Relations Board for the Louisiana Retailers Association; advisory board for the Louisiana family forum

ATTORNEY GENERAL

One of the most closely watched races in Louisiana outside of the governor’s race is the race for Attorney General.

With Landry running for the state’s top office, the office will see a new face.

Lindsey Cheek – Democrat

  • Founded The Cheek Law Firm LLC with her sister in 2015
  • Member of the Louisiana Bar; faculty member of Tulane Law School’s Trial Advocacy Program
  • Serves on the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Association of Justice

“Marty” Maley – Republican

  • Criminal prosecutor with 24 years of experience
  • Served on the board of the South Louisiana Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association; President of the ADA Board of Directors for the Louisiana District Attorney Association
  • Previously ran for attorney general in 2015; received 3.55% of the vote

“Liz” Baker Murrill – Republican

  • Appointed as Louisiana’s first Solicitor General by AG Landry in 2016
  • Counsel for the Office of the Governor during the BP oil spill litigation
  • Former director of the Administrative Division of the Louisiana Department of Justice; founded the Baton Rouge Bar Association Disaster Recovery Legal Service Project

John Stefanski – Republican

  • Represented district 42 in the Louisiana House of Representatives
  • Chair of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee; authored Louisiana’s tough anti-fentanyl law
  • Endorsed by The Times-Picayune for building a zero-tolerance record on violent crime and drug dealing and for supporting sensible, bipartisan criminal justice reforms

Perry Walker Terrebonne – Democrat

  • Attorney since 1998
  • Lives in New Orleans

TREASURER

The treasurer is the state’s chief financial officer responsible for maintaining state funds. Current treasurer John Schroder is running for governor, leaving three candidates running to replace him.

John Fleming – Republican

  • Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District.
  • After leaving office in 2017, he was appointed to three different positions by President Donald Trump, including senior advisor in 2020
  • Fleming served as a Naval Medical Officer and started a private medical practice in Minden

Dustin Granger – Democrat

  • Financial advisor, investment manager and small business owner in Lake Charles
  • Graduate of Louisiana State University
  • Helped families navigate the Great Recession, COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes that impacted the state

Scott McKnight – Republican

  • Represents District 68 in Louisiana House of Representatives
  • Serves on the Commerce Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs Committee, Natural Resources and Environment Committee and the House Select Committee on Disaster Recovery
  • Vice president and director of business development of Cadence Insurance

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

Voters will decide four constitutional amendments during the Oct. primary. There will be four more amendments to the Louisiana Constitution on the Nov. 18 ballot.

UWK is sharing information about the amendments from the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR), a nonpartisan educational and research organization.

PAR Guide to the 2023 Constitutional Amendments

Amendment 1: Prohibiting Donations to Conduct Elections

A vote for would: Ban the use of financial or other donations from a nongovernmental source or a foreign government to administer elections under most circumstances.

A vote against would: Allow election officials to determine whether to accept financial or other donations from outside sources to conduct elections

Amendment 2: Protection for Worship in Churches

A vote for would: Declare the highest level of constitutional protection for the freedom to worship in a church or another place of worship, requiring courts to apply the strictest level of judicial review to challenges when government bodies restrict access.

A vote against would: Maintain current constitutional protections, which provide that the free exercise of religion is a fundamental right subject to the highest level of scrutiny under Louisiana law but do not specifically single out houses of worship.

Amendment 3: Surplus Spending on Retirement Debt

A vote for would: Require lawmakers to use 25% of any state surplus to pay retirement debt for the four state retirement systems.

A vote against would: Leave the current requirement that lawmakers spend 10% of any state surplus to pay retirement debt for two state retirement systems through 2029.

Amendment 4: Property Tax Exemptions for Nonprofit Organizations

A vote for would: Allow local government officials to remove a property tax exemption from nonprofit organizations that lease housing and have repeated public health or safety violations.

A vote against would: Maintain the current system of property tax exemptions for nonprofit organizations, including for those that have repeated public health and safety violations.

PAR Guide to the 2023 Constitutional Amendments

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