June 22, 2024

It’s 2023, and most of the national attention is on the 2024 election. But even now, there are some elections currently underway in some states that could have a deep impact on politics nationally.

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For example, it’s an election year in Louisiana, and most of the state’s eyes are on the governor’s race. It seems pretty clear that Attorney General Jeff Landry will be in the runoff after the state’s jungle primary comes to a head this weekend. He’s likely going to be facing the only Democrat, former Director of the state’s Department of Transportation and Development, Shawn Wilson.

But there is a race getting very little attention in Louisiana, outside of some of the conservative commentary, and that’s the Secretary of State’s race. That office, which controls the state’s election processes, is up for grabs after the current office holder, Kyle Ardoin, announced earlier this year he would not be seeking re-election. There are several candidates running for the job, but there is a concern that the Republicans are too split on who to vote for.

That would create a problem, as it seems that Democrats have largely lined up behind Gwen Collins-Greenup, who has run for the job twice before against Ardoin and kept it close each time. Republican voters seem largely split between three GOP candidates: Nancy Landry, Mike Francis, and Clay Schexnayder.

For starters, no Republicans should be voting for Schexnayder, who has been the Republican Speaker of the House for four years. Under his watch, pro-family, pro-parent legislation died in his chamber and he has utilized deal-cutting to get his way rather than get what Louisiana voters have routinely asked for. We busted our spending cap because he wanted the legislature to and we were barely able to move the ball down the field on real social reforms.

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Never mind the lack of economic reforms and complete disinterest in fighting the governor’s desire to shut down Louisiana during COVID-19.

Of the other two candidates, either is pretty good choice. Landry currently works in Ardoin’s office, and would be most likely to continue the practices that have made Louisiana’s election very secure – the state routine scores among the top in the nation for safe elections – and she is a committed conservative. Francis, meanwhile, is a Republican who has served on the Public Service Commission (utilities regulators) in the state.

Interestingly, Francis has enough money to fund his own campaign but seems to have largely chosen not to – much to the frustration of some of his supporters. 

There is another Republican to watch in the race, but he is a radical reformer. Brandon Trosclair believes our elections are not secure and is a big advocate of returning to paper ballots. However, at several demonstrations of what paper ballots would mean for Louisiana, voters complained afterward about them being too complicated and taking too much time as opposed to the voting machines we currently have.

Which, again, are very secure.

If Republicans are too divided – and, more importantly, are too devoted to one candidate to consider anyone else – then the result is an advantage to the Democrats, who would love nothing more than to get hold of elections processes in the state and work to shift the advantage back to their party. That should be a real concern to voters in Louisiana, which is a deep red state that has already suffered two terms of a Democrat governor because the previous gubernatorial candidates were just awful.

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Republicans need to make sure they are all-in when it comes to this race and not ignore the down-ballot races. Every single one of them is important.

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