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Republican Jeff Landry wins Louisiana governor's race

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, backed by former President Donald Trump, has won the Louisiana governor's race, marking a major victory for the GOP. Landry will replace the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, John Bel Edwards.

Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican supported by former President Donald Trump, has emerged victorious in the Louisiana governor's race, defeating a crowded field of candidates. This win signifies a major triumph for the GOP as they regain control of the governor's mansion after eight years. Landry will succeed current Governor John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, who was ineligible for reelection due to consecutive term limits.

In his victory speech on Saturday night, Landry declared that the election demonstrated the unity of the state. He emphasized that it served as a wake-up call and a clear message that the people of Louisiana expect more from their government moving forward. By securing more than half of the votes, Landry managed to avoid a runoff election, which is typically required under the state's "jungle primary" system. The last time Louisiana did not have a gubernatorial runoff was in 2011 and 2007 when Republican Bobby Jindal won the position.

The governor-elect, accompanied by his supporters at a watch party in Broussard, Louisiana, described the election as a historic moment. Landry, 52, has significantly raised the profile of the attorney general's office since assuming office in 2016. He has utilized his position to champion conservative policy positions and has recently been in the spotlight for his involvement in and staunch support of controversial Louisiana laws. These laws include the ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, the state's near-total abortion ban without exceptions for rape and incest, and a law limiting youths' access to sexually explicit material in libraries, which critics fear will target LGBTQ+ books.

Landry has frequently clashed with Governor Edwards on various issues, such as LGBTQ rights, state finances, and the death penalty. Additionally, the Republican has engaged in national battles, including those against President Joe Biden's policies restricting oil and gas production and implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Before his political career, Landry spent two years on Capitol Hill representing Louisiana's 3rd U.S. Congressional District. He also served 11 years in the Louisiana Army National Guard, worked as a local police officer, sheriff's deputy, and attorney.

Throughout the gubernatorial election season, Landry was considered the early front-runner, securing endorsements from prominent Republicans like Trump and U.S. Rep Steve Scalise. He also received an early controversial endorsement from the state GOP. Furthermore, Landry maintained a substantial fundraising advantage over his competitors throughout the race.

As governor, Landry has made it clear that addressing crime in urban areas will be one of his top priorities. He has advocated for a tough-on-crime approach, calling for more transparency in the justice system and continuing to support capital punishment. Louisiana currently has the second-highest murder rate per capita in the nation.

During the campaign, Landry faced political attacks on social media and in interviews, with opponents labeling him a bully and accusing him of engaging in backroom deals to gain support. He also faced criticism for participating in only one major televised debate.

Other candidates in the gubernatorial race included GOP state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, independent attorney Hunter Lundy, Republican state Treasurer John Schroder, Republican former head of a powerful business group Stephen Waguespack, and former head of Louisiana's Transportation and Development Department and major Democratic candidate Shawn Wilson.

Wilson, the runner-up, conceded the election in his speech and congratulated Landry on his victory. He urged the governor-elect to prioritize Medicaid expansion, increased teacher pay, and a proper education system for the state's children.

In addition to the governor's race, Saturday's ballot included five other statewide contests and four ballot measures. While Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser won reelection, the outcomes of other races will be determined in November.

One closely watched race is for attorney general, which holds the highest legal authority in the state's executive branch. Republican Liz Baker Murrill, who currently works at the Attorney General's Office, and Democrat trial attorney Lindsey Cheek have advanced to a November runoff.

The state treasurer race also resulted in a runoff between Republican John Fleming and Democrat Dustin Granger.

In the secretary of state race, Republican First Assistant Secretary of State Nancy Landry and Democratic attorney Gwen Collins-Greenup will compete in a November runoff. The winner will be tasked with replacing Louisiana's outdated voting machines, which do not produce paper ballots necessary for ensuring accurate election results.

There are hundreds of additional localized races, including all 39 Senate seats and 105 House seats. However, a significant number of incumbents are running unopposed.

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