On Sunday, October 15th, Jeff Landry, the Attorney General of Louisiana, emerged victorious in the state’s gubernatorial race, marking a significant win for the Republican Party. Backed by former President Donald Trump, Landry successfully held off a diverse field of candidates, reclaiming the governor’s mansion for the GOP after an eight-year hiatus. The victory signifies a pivotal shift in the political landscape of Louisiana, as Landry is set to replace the current Governor, John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who was barred from seeking re-election due to consecutive term limits.
Landry, 52, who has been in the spotlight for championing conservative policy positions since taking office as Attorney General in 2016, celebrated the “historic” election with supporters in Broussard, Louisiana. His governance and policy inclinations have sparked much debate, particularly his staunch support for controversial Louisiana laws. These include a ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, a near-total abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest cases, and a law restricting youths’ access to “sexually explicit material” in libraries, which critics fear will target LGBTQ+ books.
The governor-elect has not shied away from national fights either, notably opposing President Joe Biden’s policies ranging from limiting oil and gas production to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Landry, who served two years on Capitol Hill representing Louisiana’s 3rd U.S. Congressional District and has a background in law enforcement and legal practice, has also been vocal about his top priority as governor: addressing crime in urban areas. With Louisiana having the nation’s second-highest murder rate per capita, his tough-on-crime rhetoric, calls for more “transparency” in the justice system, and continued support for capital punishment have been focal points of his campaign.
Despite facing political attacks and scrutiny for skipping all but one of the major-televised debates, Landry managed to secure more than half of the votes, avoiding an expected runoff under the state’s “jungle primary” system. His victory speech emphasized unity and heightened expectations from the government, stating, “Today’s election says that our state is united. It’s a wake-up call and it’s a message that everyone should hear loud and clear, that we the people in this state are going to expect more out of our government from here on out.”
As Landry prepares to step into the governor’s role, the implications of his leadership and policy implementations will be closely watched, both within Louisiana and nationally, given the state’s historical and current political dynamics.