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Republicans dominate in Saturday’s runoff elections in Louisiana

(The Center Square) — Republicans swept runoffs for three statewide offices in Saturday’s election, further strengthening the party’s dominance in state politics.

Republican Nancy Landry defeated Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup 67% to 33% to replace Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, who did not seek reelection. Landry, a former state lawmaker from Lafayette who has served as Ardoin’s top deputy since 2019, was widely expected to carry the race following an October election in which she matched Collins-Greenup with 19% of the vote.

Landry will now be tasked with transitioning the state to new voting machines, an effort that has been repeatedly derailed in recent years by concerns about election integrity and the security of certain vendors.

Republican Solicitor General Liz Murrill also decisively won her race for attorney general against Democrat Lindsey Cheek, with a final vote of 66% to 34%. Murrill, who has worked closely as a top deputy to Attorney General and Governor-elect Jeff Landry, won with strong support from the law enforcement community to become the first woman in the state to ascend to the role.

Murrill’s close relationship with her boss is expected to shift the tense relationship that existed between Landry and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is term-limited. Both Landry and Murrill have vowed to continue their legacy of pushing back on federal overreach when they take office in January.

In the treasurer’s race, former congressman John Fleming prevailed over Democratic financial advisor Dustin Granger with 65% of the vote compared to Granger’s 35%. Fleming, who previously served in several roles in the Trump administration, hails from Minden and is the only official elected statewide from north Louisiana.

Fleming has said he intends to continue the policies of current Treasurer John Schroder, who lost his race for governor, to oppose environmental, social and governance factors for investing the state’s funds, citing the poor performance of renewables and electric vehicles in the market. Granger, by contrast, had promised to consider ESG factors.

The top ticket races complete a Republican sweep of all statewide offices during the 2023 elections for the first time since 2015, with other winners from October including Landry for governor and Billy Nungesser for lieutenant governor. Republican Michael Strain was unopposed for agriculture commissioner as was Republican Tim Temple for insurance commissioner.

Voters also returned Republican supermajorities for both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature, giving the party complete control of the legislative and executive branches.

Saturday’s election featured approval for three constitutional amendments, as well, while voters shot down a fourth. The approved measures will allow lawmakers to hold gubernatorial veto override votes during the regular session, remove inactive funds from the state constitution, and allow parishes to offer property tax exemptions to police, firefighters, and first responders.

The four amendment rejected by voters would have made it harder for lawmakers to spend money from the state’s Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund, better known as the rainy day fund.

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