The Republican Party has just gained another governorship in the United States, expanding their lead among the 50 states 27–23. While the GOP was expected to flip the Louisiana seat this year, currently occupied by Democrat John Bel Edwards, the way it happened came as a surprise to everyone.
Jeff Landry will become the 57th governor of Louisiana in January 2024 without having to compete in a general election this November.
Three gubernatorial elections were scheduled to take place in the US on 7 November this year: in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana. However, due to the way the Pelican State runs its election for governor, the winner was already decided in the primary.
In Louisiana, all candidates compete in a so-called ‘jungle primary’ before the general election, and the two candidates who receive the two most votes face off in the general election. However, if anyone receives a majority of the popular vote—as in, more than 50 per cent—that person will be declared the winner, without the need for a runoff election.
And that is exactly what happened.
Louisiana State Attorney General Jeff Landry, who had received the endorsement of Former President Donald Trump ahead of the primary, received 51.6 per cent of the popular vote,
winning the governor’s race on Saturday, 14 October. This is an especially great achievement given the fact there were only two candidates from the Democratic Party on the ballot, as opposed to eight (!) from the Republican Party.
When all the votes are tallied by party, Republicans actually got 65.5 per cent of the vote, compared to the Democrat’s 28.5 per cent, while the remaining six per cent went for independent candidates. That is a thumping victory for the GOP!
In his victory speech, governor-elect Landry said:
‘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,’ according to the US public broadcaster PBS.
How the 2024 US Presidential Race Stands As of Now
It is unclear how big of an indicator this victory in Louisiana is for next year’s presidential election. However, it is a fact that the state-wide popular vote shifted 18 points to the right compared to the 2020 presidential election—then, President Trump won the state of Louisiana by 18.6 points; while this time, Republican candidates won by 37 points over Democrats.
That does not reflect well on the Biden administration’s favourability in the South, which is likely to affect the race in the crucial swing state of Georgia with 16 electoral votes—that alone could decide the fate of the whole election.
Also, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—son of the tragically assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, former US Attorney General and the brother of President John F. Kennedy—has recently announced he is leaving the Democratic Party and will run as an independent in 2024. Kennedy was polling around 15 per cent in the Democratic primary race so far. Could he, with the pull of his last name, take away 15 per cent of the votes from Democrats in the presidential election?
Unlikely, but it is possible he will take more away from Biden than Trump. That is contraindicated by a poll released by NPR/PBS/Marist, according to which Biden is leading Trump by seven points in a three-way race with RFK Jr. It is worth noting, however, that NPR/PBS polling tends to habitually overestimate the Democrats’ performance, which is somewhat problematic given that these companies are state-funded media…
Biden’s election bid is threatened by yet another third-party candidate, philosopher Cornel West from the Green Party. West is a prominent African-American political figure, and, given that this demographic tends to heavily favour Democrats in elections, West could siphon a significant amount of support from President Biden.
All three-way polls between Biden, Trump, and West have shown Trump in the lead so far.