Pro-Life Republican Jeff Landry Elected Louisiana Governor
A pro-life Republican who has defended pro-life laws and scored a key victory over President Joe Biden’s efforts to censor social media has won election as governor of Louisiana, replacing a Democrat who had opposed legislation protecting children from the transgender industry.
On October 14, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry won 52% of the vote in the state’s jungle primary, which pitted all 14 candidates of all parties against one another. If a candidate wins an outright majority, he wins the election; otherwise, the top two candidates face off in the general election. Landry won twice as many votes as his closest competitor, Shawn Wilson (26%), who campaigned as a proudly “pro-choice” Democrat who considered abortion decisions “private.” That put Wilson well to the left of outgoing Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a pro-life Democrat who signed a near-total protection of unborn life.
Wilson’s unexpected defeat undermines Democrats’ belief they can ride opposition to pro-life laws to easy victories. Democrats “are the pro-choice party and that’s more important now than ever,” said Louisiana Democratic Party chairwoman Katie Bernhardt. “People were compromising on the issue before, but now aren’t willing to do so anymore – and shouldn’t have to.”
In a victory speech, Landry called his election “a wake-up call” and “a message that everyone should hear loud and clear.” The Republican’s outright victory, in a race most predicted to go to a run-off election, “says that our state is united.” After flipping the governor’s mansion, Republicans now control all elected chambers of government in the Pelican state.
Edwards, one of the only Democratic governors in the South, increasingly clashed with pro-family legislators as his second term came to an end. Republican legislators overrode his veto of a law prohibiting transgender surgeries for minors one month after Edwards allowed a bill barring males from competing in female sports to take effect without his signature. Edwards called the second law “distressing.” Landry’s victory proves “Louisiana’s future can be better than our present and our past,” said Senator John Kennedy (R), “and I look forward to working with our new governor to make that happen.”
Landry, a 52-year-old Republican, swept to victory in the 2010 midterm elections and served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he earned a 100% voting record from FRC Action and National Right to Life. He then won his post as Louisiana attorney general in 2016, where he won credit for his strong defense of family, religious liberty, and law and order.
Landry had promised to go to court to defend the state’s pro-life law, which allows abortion only to save the life of the mother or prevent severe physical injuries to a major organ. Edwards, who could not seek a third term due to term limits, and his wife Donna congratulated Landry for “running a winning campaign.”
In July, Landry won a key victory over the Biden administration alongside Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R). The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found the Biden administration violated the First Amendment by improperly “pressuring social media companies to moderate their content on misinformation surrounding vaccines.”
“I’m grateful to Governor-elect Jeff Landry for his important role in the landmark first amendment case, Missouri v. Biden,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, one of the officials most directly affected by Biden’s speech-stifling actions.
Landry — a 52-year-old who describes himself as a “practicing Catholic” — also blasted efforts to prosecute pastors and deny religious exemptions to pro-life Christians who opposed COVID-19 mandates. “I remain standing at the ready to fight overreaching men and preserve our rule of law, which is anchored in the wisdom of God,” he wrote in The Washington Stand.
While many accused parents of supporting “book bans,” Landry said parents have the right to ask libraries not to dispense “porn disguised as education” to minors.
“Our libraries are not a place for Satan to sit. Those libraries belong to you,” Landry told a gathering hosted by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in February. “I believe if you arm people and you educate them, they will absolutely do the right thing.”
Much of his time as attorney general came clashing with the state’s largest and most liberal city, New Orleans.
After New Orleans Democrats threatened to become a “sanctuary city” for abortion by refusing to enforce state pro-life laws, Landry led the Louisiana’s Bond Commission, which distributes state loans and grants to local governments, temporarily deferring a $39 million loan. “The question becomes: What are we going to do with a local government and elected officials who just refuse to uphold the law?” Landry told The Washington Stand in an exclusive interview. As governor, Landry will staff and control more than 500 boards and commissions.
Landry similarly attempted to cut off funding over New Orleans’ “sanctuary city” policies on illegal immigration.
Landry campaigned against “incompetent mayors and woke District Attorneys” who refuse to prosecute criminals, deriding their “hug a thug” policies. Their inaction “handcuffs cops instead of criminals,” he said. Many of the city’s anti-police ordinances resulted from an Obama-Biden administration consent decree in 2013 that gave authority over policing to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Governor-Elect Landry stands for law and order, putting Louisiana families first, and building opportunity and economic prosperity,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association, who praised Landry “for flipping Louisiana red and putting away his race early.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.