Louisiana attorney general, secretary of state races headed to Nov. 18 runoffs

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(The Center Square) — While voters on Saturday decided Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry will become the next governor of Louisiana, several other statewide contests will head to a November runoff.

Landry, the endorsed Republican candidate for governor who led all challengers throughout election season, garnered 51.6% of the vote, while Democrat Shawn Wilson took 25.9%. Republican Stephen Waguespack was third with 5.9%, followed by Treasurer John Schroder at 5.3%.

The results mean Landry avoids a runoff in the Nov. 18 general election by collecting more than half of the votes cast. It was the same for Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, who won reelection with 65.5% over Democrat Willie Jones at 20.5%.

Several other statewide races will be determined in November.

Eight candidates vying for secretary of state were whittled to two: Republican First Assistant Secretary of State Nancy Landry and Democratic attorney Gwen Collins-Greenup, who has twice run for the post in 2018 and 2019. Landry and Collins-Greenup both garnered roughly 19.3% of the vote. Four other candidates — three Republicans and two Democrats — each collected more than 10%, while two others received less than 10%.

Only three elections for secretary of state have advanced to a general election since 2003. The last Democrat elected to the office was W. Fox McKeithen in 1987, and he switched parties two years later to serve until 2005.

In the attorney general’s race, Landry’s top deputy, Republican Solicitor General Liz Murrill, led four others vying for the state’s top law enforcement post with 45.24%, followed by Democratic trial attorney Lindsey Cheek at 23.4%, and Republican Rep. John Stefanski at 16.8%. Murrill, who has dominated the race in fundraising, will face off against Cheek on Nov. 18.

While Murrill touted her “proven track record defending this state and our conservative values” in a statement following Saturday’s results, Cheek has focused on expanding abortion access, improving the state’s insurance marketplace, and other progressive policies throughout her campaign.

In the treasurer race, Republican former congressman John Fleming and Democratic financial advisor Dustin Granger will also head to a November runoff after garnering 44% and 32% of the vote, respectively. Fleming, endorsed by the state Republican Party, has vowed to focus the state’s investments on maximum returns. At the same time, Grander has said he would consider environmental, social and governance factors opposed by current Treasurer John Schroder.

Democrat Sharon Latten-Clark was elected unopposed to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, as was Democrat incumbent Preston Castille.

Voters also reelected two Republican incumbents and two others, including state Rep. Lance Harris of Alexandria, who last week unsuccessfully urged the board to delay its vote to loosen the state’s graduation requirements. Harris, chairman of the House Education Committee, is expected to hold an oversight hearing on the issue.

Republican Stacey Melerine and Democrat Emma Shepard will head to a Nov. 18 runoff for District 4 board seat, while Republican Kevin Berken will face Republican Erick Knezek next month for District 7.

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