Conservative Jeff Landry elected as Louisiana’s next governor

Republican Jeff Landry beat out a full slate of other hopefuls to become Louisiana’s next governor, replacing Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Landry, who is the current state attorney general, will be sworn in as governor in January, taking over from Bel Edwards, who was term-limited out.

He beat out a wide slate of other candidates on Saturday, including Republican state treasurer John Schroder and Democrat Shawn Wilson, taking 51.56% of the vote to avoid a potential runoff.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, shown speaking at a congressional subcommittee hearing in March, won the Louisiana governor’s election.

Bloomberg News

Landry, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is a fiscal and social conservative who has fought against environmental, social and governance issues and backed a tough on crime agenda.

He had several run-ins with the state Bond Commission, which is chaired by Schroder, over ESG issues such as abortion and firearms. Schroder and Landry sparred several times at commission meetings over the past few years.

In April, the panel voted to adopt a plan of financing for a negotiated sale of Garvee bonds despite having to use J.P. Morgan, a firm it blacklisted from a deal last year. A representative of Landry’s on the board cast the only no vote during the meeting.

In January 2022, Wells Fargo priced the state’s $643 million of taxable gasoline and fuels tax revenue refunding bonds after the panel had disqualified J.P. Morgan from underwriting the refinancing due to unanswered questions about its gun policies.

Assistant Attorney General Craig Cassagne had questioned why the panel would use an underwriter that had been banned from doing a previous sale. Schroder noted his options were limited since there was only a small pool of underwriters who could successfully manage such a large and complex deal.

Also last year, at Landry’s urging, the panel held up a request from New Orleans for funding for a power plant due to the city’s pro-abortion stance, which conflicts with state law.

In April, S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on the state’s general obligation bonds to positive from stable and affirmed the rating at AA-minus.

The state also received its first ever Kroll Bond Rating Agency rating when it assigned an AA with stable outlook to the state’s sale of 251 million of Series 2023A GOs.

In May, Moody’s Investors Service raised Louisiana’s GOs and issuer credit rating to Aa2 from Aa3, citing the significant progress the state has made restoring its financial reserves and liquidity. The state’s outlook, previously positive, was revised to stable.

The state has structurally aligned its revenue and spending despite declines in production and a rise in volatility for its gas and oil industries along with unfavorable demographics, Moody’s said.

Fitch Ratings rates Louisiana AA-minus with a stable outlook.

Schroder only received 5% of the vote in the governor’s race, according to preliminary election results.

The race to replace him as state treasurer will go to a runoff after two Republicans split the vote in a three-way race. Republican John Fleming will replace Democrat Dustin Granger in November.

Landry served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013 and was a lawyer in private practice until he was elected as attorney general in 2015.

He was born in Louisiana and served in the U.S. Army and then in the state National Guard. He is also a former sheriff’s deputy and police officer.

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