Republicans Win First Major Election of 2023, Retake Louisiana Governor’s Mansion

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The GOP has secured its first major electoral victory of 2023. Late Saturday evening, enough of the vote was totaled to deliver Republican Jeff Landry a clean victory over Democrat Shawn Wilson in Louisiania’s gubernatorial race, with no run-off required. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, had held the office for the last eight years.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry was declared the clear winner in Saturday’s jungle primary, reaching the 50% vote threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The Associated Press called the race.

Landry and Democrat Shawn Wilson were considered the front-runners in the crowded race to replace term-limited Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Crime became a major issue in the race, with it having exploded in Louisiana over the last decade. New Orleans, specifically, the state’s largest city and primary tourist destination, has descended into chaos under the rule of far-left Democrat Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Landry has promised to get tough on crime and begin a crackdown to restore order. 

Wilson had framed himself as a centrist with an ability to work across the aisle in much the same way Bel Edwards had previously. That political gambit didn’t work this time, though, and Louisiana voters sent a message that they were done with Democrat leadership. 

Louisiana’s election system is different than most, with Saturday’s vote technically being an open primary. Yet, if one candidate crosses 50 percent, then an outright winner is declared. 

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As for vote totals, Landry ended up with around 51 percent of the vote, while Wilson garnered just 26 percent. Other Republican candidates combined for about 15 percent, meaning the GOP carried a sizable majority of voters. 

Does this portend anything for Republicans heading into must-win races in Kentucky and Virginia that are less than a month out? It’s hard to say. Louisiana is a deep red state, but so is Kentucky, where Republican Daniel Cameron has been consistently trailing the Democrat incumbent. If the GOP can pull off an above-average performance in November, it will certainly help build momentum for 2024. As of now, it’s a wait-and-see situation, but at least in Louisiana, some semblance of sanity is on the way.

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