UNITED STATES NEWS

Three major Louisiana statewide offices to be decided by voters Saturday

Nov 17, 2023, 10:50 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republicans swept three runoff races for powerful statewide offices in Louisiana — attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer — Saturday night.

The GOP success, in a state that has had a Democrat in the governor’s office for the past eight years, means that come January, Republicans will control the five most powerful positions in Louisiana’s executive branch. In addition, the GOP holds majorities in both the House and Senate.

Liz Murrill was elected as attorney general, Nancy Landry as secretary of state and John Fleming as treasurer. The results also mean Louisiana will have its first female attorney general and first woman elected as secretary of state.

Louisiana’s gubernatorial election was decided in October when Jeff Landry, a Republican backed by former President Trump, won outright and avoided a runoff. Saturday’s election completes the shaping of Louisiana’s executive branch, where most incumbents didn’t seek reelection and opened the door for new leadership in some of the most powerful positions.

Despite a low early voting turnout, the election caught the eye of Trump, who on Thursday endorsed the Republican candidates in each of the three statewide races.

The three Republicans “are outstanding in every way and have my complete and total endorsement,” Trump said in a statement issued by the Louisiana Republican Party.

Murrill, a Republican, will replace her boss, Jeff Landry, when he becomes governor in January. Murrill’s opponent was Lindsey Cheek, a New Orleans-based trial attorney.

The attorney general represents the state in a variety of legal disputes. However, Landry often made statewide and national headlines in the role, including his support for legislation banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths and a near-total abortion ban with no exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

Murrill has joined Landry in championing conservative causes, including a lawsuit against President Joe Biden’s administration for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Her campaign has focused on a tough-on-crime approach.

Trump has gained a close ally in the state treasurer’s office: John Fleming, a conservative former congressman who was a member of the former president’s administration. The Republican faced Dustin Granger, a Democrat, who is a financial advisor based in Lake Charles.

Nancy Landry, who is not related to the governor-elect, beat Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Democrat, in the race for secretary of state.

The Republican will take on the task of replacing Louisiana’s outdated voting machines, which don’t produce the paper ballots critical to ensuring accurate election results.

The lengthy and ongoing replacement process was thrust into the national spotlight after allegations of bid-rigging and when conspiracy theorists, who support Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, inserted themselves into the conversation.

Nancy Landry is a former state representative from Lafayette and has worked in the secretary of state’s office for four years.

She will be Louisiana’s first woman elected as secretary of state. The first woman to hold the position was Alice Lee Grosjean, who was appointed in 1930 by then-Gov. Huey P. Long after then-Secretary of State James Bailey died suddenly of pneumonia.

Saturday’s ballot also includes four proposed constitutional amendments, including extra property tax exemptions for first responders. There also were various local government office races, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education seats and 20 runoffs in the Legislature.

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Three major Louisiana statewide offices to be decided by voters Saturday