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Reports on Louisiana politics, government and the people shaping state policy

This week in politics: 3 statewide races on the ballot, early voting

Louisiana State Capitol in April 2022.
Kezia Setyawan
Louisiana State Capitol in April 2022.

Every Friday, politics reporter Molly Ryan rounds up the news of the week from the campaign trail and beyond.

State attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state

General election day in Louisiana is just over a week away, when voters will head to the polls to pick the state’s next treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state — three hugely important statewide races.

In each, there is one Republican and one Democrat vying for the seat. WRKF and WWNO have requested interviews with all of the candidates. So far, conversations with those running for attorney general and treasurer have aired.

Republican Liz Murrill, the state’s solicitor general, and Democrat Lindsey Cheek, an attorney from New Orleans, are vying for the position of attorney general. The attorney general is primarily responsible for defending the state and its agencies in lawsuits.

The outcome of the race will largely shape the politics of abortion, oil and gas, crime and more in the state. Even though the attorney general doesn’t have much actual power over managing crime.

Eugene Lee-Johnson, a political science professor at Southern University, said what the position does have is “public relations” power.

“When you're promoting these different ideas about what crime should look like or what punishment should look like, it often shapes how the state goes on those issues,” he said.

Lee-Johnson described the role of treasurer as the state’s financial manager. The treasurer manages state funds, regulates the investment of state funds and manages state debt.

Democrat Dustin Granger, a financial adviser from Lake Charles, and Republican John Fleming, a former U.S. representative, are running for the position.

The outcome of the treasurer race will influence how Louisiana invests its money. Notably, Granger wants to move away from investing in oil and gas and instead invest in renewable energies. Granger is also not opposed to investing in firms with environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, something a lot of Louisiana politicians are opposed to.

The secretary of state acts as the chief election officer, ensuring the administration of fair and smooth elections. The next secretary will be tasked with implementing a new voting system after the Legislature passed a bill in 2021 that bans the use of current voting machines and requires the new system to have a paper trail. Republican Nancy Landry and Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup — the two candidates running — have both said they prefer a system that would include a combination of digital technology and a paper trail.

Voters will also decide on a number of local races and consider four proposed constitutional amendments. Election day is next Saturday, Nov. 18.

Early voting locations open for one more day

Voters have just a couple of days left to cast their ballots in the general election. Early voting polls are closed today for Veterans Day but will be open for one final day on Saturday, Nov. 11. Polls will be open from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m. Voters should check the Secretary of State’s website for their early voting location, which is often different from regular polling places. Louisianans don’t need a reason to vote early.

If voters want to vote on election day, it is next Saturday, November 18th. Polls on that day will be open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Remember, a picture I.D. is required at the polls.

Politics news from across the state

An appeals court sets a January deadline for a new Louisiana congressional mapNPR, Washington, D.C.

A federal appeals court has given the Louisiana legislature until Jan. 15, 2024, to draw a new congressional map after concluding a lower court correctly ruled that the previous map likely violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of the state's Black voters.

Former Louisiana House speaker tapped as Landry’s budget chiefLouisiana Illuminator, Baton Rouge

Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry announced Wednesday his picks for commissioner and deputy commissioner of administration, two roles primarily responsible for overseeing state finances. Former Louisiana House speaker Taylor Barras will be his commissioner, and former House fiscal director Patrick Goldsmith will be his deputy. Barras’ responsibilities include crafting and managing the state’s budget.

Louisiana adopts paid family leave for 70,000 state workersLouisiana Illuminator, Baton Rouge

Gov. John Bel Edwards joined the Louisiana State Civil Service, Woman’s Hospital and local officials on Thursday to announce 100% paid family leave up to six weeks for state employees. Louisiana is the 33rd state to offer paid leave to state employees.

Every Friday afternoon, politics reporter Molly Ryan brings listeners election and politics updates live on the Capitol Access segment of All Things Considered on WWNO and WRKF.

Molly Ryan is a political reporter and covers state politics from the Louisiana Capitol.