Saturday, April 13, 2024

Landry continues to rule Louisiana gubernatorial race fundraising

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square contributor

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry continues to dominate his competition for governor, collecting more contributions since July than all other major candidates combined.

The latest campaign finance reports covering July 7 through Sept. 4 show Landry collected $1.8 million in contributions. After $4.2 million in expenditures, the endorsed Republican Party candidate for governor had $6.7 million in cash on hand going into the final stretch to the Oct. 14 primary. Through Sept. 4, Landry has received a total of $3.2 million from political committees, according to campaign finance reports.

Under Louisiana’s majority vote primary, all candidates appear on the same ballot. A candidate can win outright with more than 50% of the vote, but if that doesn’t happen the top two vote recipients head to a Nov. 18 general election.

Landry’s $1.8 million haul comes in about $400,000 more than the rest of the major candidates vying to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards combined.

Former chief of staff for Gov. Bobby Jindal, Republican Stephen Waguespack, collected the second-most contributions during the reporting period at $594,098. With $1.17 in expenditures, the former head of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry had $1.2 million cash on hand on Sept. 4. Waguespack reported collecting $38,046 from political committees through that date.

Democratic candidate Shawn Wilson took in $582,986 in contributions over the reporting period and spent $288,483. Wilson, who is endorsed by Edwards, reported $879,541 cash on hand and $44,750 in contributions from political committees so far this election cycle.

Republican Treasurer John Schroder reported $106,694 in contributions between July 7 and Sept. 4, and $635,232 in expenditures. That left Schroder with $1.68 million cash on hand, with $130,516 coming from political committees, according to his campaign finance report.

Lake Charles attorney Hunter Lundy, an independent, collected $76,070 and loaned himself $700,000, bring his total receipts with other contributions to $784,045 in total receipts. Lundy reported spending $1.69 million during the reporting period, with $1.2 million cash on hand on Sept. 4 and zero contributions from political committees.

Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, reported $35,010 in contributions, $90,276 in expenditures, $224,449 in cash, while Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, posted $21,449 in contributions, $272,289 in expenditures, and $99,529 in cash.

Nelson has received $45,222 from political committees in the current election cycle, and Hewitt received $162,402.

Every poll conducted since July shows Landry leading the field, with most showing a double-digit advantage. Wilson’s status as the sole major Democratic candidate is expected to propel him to a runoff with Landry in November.

In the most recent poll from Gray Media, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling Strategy Sept. 12-15, 52% of 625 registered voters said they would vote for Landry in the general election, compared to 39% who said they backed Wilson. The poll’s margin of error was 4%.

As a result of that poll, Landry, Wilson and Waguespack, who all received at least 5%, qualified to participate in a candidate debate hosted by Gray Television set for Sept. 26 at the University of New Orleans.

Louisiana’s political landscape is tilted 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 is expected to bode well in a state that favored Trump by 19% in 2020.

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