Saturday, July 20, 2024

Landry laps Louisiana gubernatorial field with $9M campaign war chest

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry continues to hold a significant fundraising lead over his competition for governor in 2023, with millions more cash on hand than the rest of the field combined between April and July.

Landry, the endorsed candidate of the state Republican Party, reported more than $9.15 million cash on hand in campaign finance filings for the latest reporting period, which ran from April 8 through July 6.

The rest of the candidates combined have about $7.4 million.

Landry’s campaign war chest ballooned by nearly $3 million since April, with more than $4.6 million in receipts outpacing his $1.8 million in spending.

The attorney general’s closest competitor in terms of money in the bank is Republican state Treasurer John Schroder, who raised $204,319 and spent $457,048, leaving him with nearly $2.2 million in July.

Lake Charles attorney Hunter Lundy, an Independent, reported $2.1 million cash on hand after loaning his campaign $700,000. Lundy collected $146,085 in contributions and spent $585,271 over the four months.

Stephen Waguespack, former head of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, was the second biggest fundraiser in the race with more than $1.3 million in contributions. With total disbursements of $405,334, the former top aide to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal reported $1.8 million cash on hand.

Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, reported $57,414 in contributions, $370,990 in spending, and $350,369 in cash, while Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, posted $26,689 in contributions, $26,592 in spending, and $280,369 in cash.

The lone Democrat in the race, former Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson, raised $544,975 between April and July, spent $495,899, and reported $594,087 in the bank last month.

Despite Wilson trailing Landry in both fundraising and cash, he’s expected to advance through Louisiana’s majority-vote primary to gain one of two spots on the general election ballot by consolidating Democratic voters. If one candidate does not gain more than 50% of total votes during the Oct. 14 primary, the two candidates with most votes advance to a Nov. 18 runoff.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is term limited, is one of only three Democratic southern governors, and Democrats face strong headwinds to keep the post blue. All major polls since April except one have shown Landry leading Wilson, though most were conducted for groups with a partisan lean.

The state’s political landscape is also tiled in favor of Republicans, who hold supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature and the vast majority of statewide offices.

Since 1976, only two Democrats have been elected governor, compared to nine Republicans, and Landry’s endorsement from former President Donald Trump will likely bode well for him in a state that favored Trump by 19% in 2020.

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