Attorney General Jeff Landry has been elected as the new governor of Louisiana in a highly contested race against incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards. Landry, a Republican, defeated the Democratic Edwards in a campaign that focused heavily on the economy, crime, and education in the state.
Landry’s victory marks a return of Republican leadership to Louisiana’s highest office after Edwards had broken decades of GOP control back in 2015. The governor’s office has been held by a Republican for all but four years since 1980.
In his victory speech Tuesday night in Baton Rouge, Landry pledged to usher in a new era of prosperity and opportunity for all Louisianans.
“Tonight, you have given me a mandate for change,” Landry told a crowd of enthusiastic supporters. “You have rejected the failed status quo and voted for a brighter future. I will not let you down.”
Landry centered his campaign on improving Louisiana’s business climate to stimulate job growth. He promised to cut taxes and reduce regulations that he says have stifled entrepreneurship under Edwards’ tenure. His economic plan calls for expanding vocational training to prepare Louisiana residents for high-demand careers.
The cornerstone of Landry’s platform was addressing Louisiana’s high crime rate, which has consistently ranked among the highest in the nation. He blamed Edwards for signing criminal justice reform bills that Landry says made the state less safe. As governor, Landry says he will reinstate mandatory minimum sentences and focus resources on community policing efforts.
Education was another key issue in the governor’s race. Louisiana’s public school system has struggled with low test scores and poor graduation rates compared to other states. Landry argued that Edwards did not do enough to expand school choice options like charter schools and private school vouchers. He campaigned on a pledge to create an education savings account program that would help more families access alternative K-12 education models.
Edwards put his management of Louisiana’s pandemic response front and center in the campaign. He argued that his decision early in the COVID-19 outbreak to implement a statewide mask mandate and restrict large gatherings saved lives. Louisiana had one of the highest per capita COVID death rates in 2020 but has since seen infections and hospitalizations drop under Edwards’ policies.
The term-limited governor also made the case that Louisiana’s economy fared better under his leadership compared to the instability of the Jindal era. Edwards pointed to declining unemployment and balanced budgets during his time in office. However, Landry countered that the progress was too little and came too slowly for many working families.
As governor, Landry will be working with a Republican-controlled state legislature, which could help him implement his agenda. The GOP will hold a two-thirds supermajority in the State House and State Senate.
Landry thanked his family and supporters as he gave his victory speech, saying he was humbled by the trust voters placed in him to lead Louisiana forward. He acknowledged there are challenges ahead but voiced confidence that the people will work together to create lasting prosperity.
“When we unite around our shared values, there is nothing that can stop the great people of this great state,” said Landry. “Let us begin the work ahead with faith, compassion and a servant’s heart.”
At 52 years old, Jeff Landry becomes the youngest sitting governor in the United States. He previously served as a U.S. Representative and in the Louisiana House of Representatives before being elected state Attorney General.
Landry will be sworn in as Louisiana’s 56th governor on January 13th. He will be succeeding Edwards, who was unable to seek reelection due to term limits after serving one four-year term.
The governor’s race gained national attention as Landry and Edwards presented competing visions for Louisiana’s future. Their contentious campaigns drove high voter turnout, reflecting the stark choice voters faced at the ballot box.
Landry’s win deals a blow to Democrats’ chances of rebuilding support in the South.Louisiana was one of the last remaining Southern statehouses controlled by Democrats. Republicans will now hold a dominating 26-24 advantage among governors across the region.
Political observers will be closely watching how aggressively Landry pursues his conservative agenda as governor. He has described himself as “unapologetically pro-life, pro-gun and pro-freedom.” It remains to be seen how Landry’s policies will impact Louisiana’s healthcare system, gun laws, and civil rights issues.
Tonight begins a new chapter in Louisiana’s history books. Jeff Landry will have the chance to put his political promises into practice as he leads his state. All eyes will be on Baton Rouge to see if Landry can deliver on the change he championed during his successful campaign. For now, Louisiana prepares for the transition to its first Republican governor in four years.