Monday, November 20, 2023

Louisiana GOP Takes Full Control of Statewide Offices


AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Louisiana is a solid red state, thanks to some Republican victories in statewide elections Saturday. While there wasn’t a lot of attention in the media on Louisiana elections, the state races for attorney, treasurer, and secretary of state were all won by Republicans. That is in addition to the gubernatorial race won by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

How about them apples? Republican Liz Murrill becomes the first woman to serve as Louisiana’s Attorney General. Republican Nancy Landry, Louisiana’s current first assistant secretary of state, won a run-off for secretary of state. John Fleming, a former Republican U.S. representative who served as deputy chief of staff to President Trump, won the race for state treasurer.

Louisiana has a long history of Democrat control in political power, even when Democrats lost their grip on other parts of the South. Louisiana has now officially moved to the right.

The race for attorney general was handily won by Liz Murrill.

Murrill, a top deputy to current attorney general and Gov.-elect Jeff Landry, locked in her victory early on election night. She defeated trial lawyer and Democrat Lindsey Cheek, a political newcomer who ran on a platform of cracking down on pollution, protecting consumers and expanding abortion access.

By 10 p.m., she had secured over 440,000 votes to Cheek’s roughly 220,000, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Election integrity was on the ballot. Nancy Landry also achieved a solid victory. Her Democrat opponent, Gwen Collins-Greenup, an attorney, also ran for the office in 2018 and 2019. The secretary of state’s office oversees the state’s elections and manages the business registry.

“I am grateful to the voters of Louisiana for the trust they have placed in me … My message of competent, conservative experience resonated with voters across our state,” Landry said in a statement issued through a spokesperson. “I look forward to getting to work right away to make Louisiana No. 1 in election integrity.”

The race between John Fleming and Democrat Dustin Granger turned ugly toward the end. Granger, a financial adviser from Lake Charles, is a political newcomer. His campaign released a series of attack ads and the two candidates fought on social media.

Fleming said he was excited to be elected to office at “a time that is unique in the history of Louisiana.” He described the incoming state government as more “pro-economic development” than ever before.

“We have I think the recipe that will be well-positioned to, with the support of the people of Louisiana, finally solve many of the problems that we’ve had in Louisiana for many, many decades,” Fleming said.

One nasty ad against Fleming, who is a physician, accused him of being a “crooked doctor.”

In the ad, an unnamed narrator calls Fleming, who is a physician, a “crooked doctor” and accuses him of peddling opioids, citing a book Fleming wrote that described opioids as proof of God.

The ad also chides Fleming for taking “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in campaign contributions from property insurance companies at a time when insurers, citing successive storms, have raised premiums on residents.

“It seems like wherever Louisianans are suffering, John Fleming is profiting,” the narrator said. “What do you think he’d do as Treasurer?”

 Politics ain’t bean bag and Louisiana is known as a state that takes its battles seriously. To be clear, Fleming pushed back on the opioid claim. He has not had any complaints against him for prescribing drugs improperly or abusively.

He said the ad “totally distorted” his book’s point that opioids “led to us being able to perform surgery and also being able to give relief to people with cancer.” “God gave us these natural chemicals that are actually created in our bodies at much lower levels than can be accessed medicinally,” Fleming said.

The GOP has a monopoly on statewide offices for the first time since 2015.

Murrill’s race was a clear contrast between conservative politics and progressive politics. She has experience litigating in legal fights over abortion, COVID-19 vaccines, and flood insurance rates. She’s a member of the Federalist Society. She promises to crack down on crime by increasing the attorney general’s criminal bureau. Her opponent was a New Orleans-based trial attorney who ran on one of the most progressive platforms of the election cycle.

You love to see it. For all the talk in the corporate media that Republicans are not doing well, it looks like the voters in Louisiana didn’t get the memo.