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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Louisiana governor's race top of Saturday ballot

Louisiana governor's race top of Saturday ballot

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — All seven of Louisiana's statewide elected positions were on Saturday's ballot, with wide open competitions for governor and lieutenant governor because the incumbents weren't running for re-election. Runoffs, as needed, will be Nov. 21.

Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards and Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter advanced to the runoff in the governor's race, the top two vote-getters among nine candidates on the ballot.
Only four mounted large-scale campaigns with multimillion-dollar fundraising and advertising: Edwards, Vitter, Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. Angelle and Dardenne split the anti-Vitter vote among Republicans, paving the way for Vitter to reach the runoff.
More than $13.5 million has been spent by the candidates alone. Outside groups have poured in millions more, the first time super PACs have played much of a role in the race.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is term-limited after eight years in office.

Republican Billy Nungesser and Democrat Kip Holden will face off in the runoff election for lieutenant governor.
Holden, the mayor of Baton Rouge, easily advanced with a base of Democratic Party support. Nungesser, former president of Plaquemines Parish, slugged it out in a high-spending primary competition against fellow Republican John Young, president of Jefferson Parish. Young came in third.
Also on the ballot was Republican state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas. The job was wide open because its current occupant, Jay Dardenne, ran for governor instead.
The lieutenant governor leads Louisiana's Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and serves as the figurehead for the state's $11 billion tourism industry.

Republican incumbent Attorney General Buddy Caldwell will be fighting in the November runoff to hang onto his seat amid strong competition from former Congressman Jeff Landry, who received the endorsement of the state Republican Party.
Others in the race who didn't reach the runoff were Port Allen lawyer Marty Maley, a Republican, and Democrats Geri Broussard Baloney of Garyville and Ike Jackson of Plaquemine. Baloney received the backing of the state Democratic Party.

Louisiana's four other GOP statewide incumbents were re-elected: Secretary of State Tom Schedler, Treasurer John Kennedy, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain. Each drew challengers, though few were well-funded.
The secretary of state is Louisiana's chief elections official. Schedler bested a Democratic challenger, Baton Rouge law professor Chris Tyson, to hang onto the job. Kennedy defeated one opponent, Republican lawyer Jennifer Treadway.
The incumbent agriculture and insurance commissioners won in the primary though they faced three opponents each.
Donelon defeated Donald Hodge Jr., a Democrat and lawyer from Baton Rouge who ran unsuccessfully against Donelon four years ago; Charlotte McDaniel McGehee, a Democrat and lawyer from Prairieville; and Matt Parker, a Republican from Calhoun who owns a car repair business.
Strain easily won a new term, amid opposition from Charlie Greer, a Democrat and retired agriculture department employee from Natchitoches; Adrian "Ace" Juttner, a Green Party candidate from Abita Springs; and Jamie LaBranche, a Republican from LaPlace who ran unsuccessfully against Strain four years ago as a Democrat.

Voters were choosing the eight elected members of the 11-member Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state's top school board. It sets policy for more than 700,000 public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Five incumbents ran for re-election, and two were defeated. The makeup of the board will help decide whether Superintendent of Education John White keeps his job for the new term and how much Louisiana reworks its use of the Common Core education standards.

There were four proposals to change the Louisiana Constitution.
Amendment 1 was rejected. It would have steered some oil and gas money that otherwise flows into Louisiana's "rainy day" fund, known as the Budget Stabilization Fund, into a transportation account to spend on road and bridge work. The trust fund would have broken into two parts: one that continues to work as a rainy day fund and the other that allows spending on transportation projects. Currently, the cap on the fund is about $800 million. This would have boosted the cap to $1 billion, split evenly between the two subaccounts.

Amendment 2 was approved. It will pour more money into transportation projects, allowing the state treasurer to invest public dollars into an "infrastructure bank" that works as a revolving loan program for local governments to borrow money for the projects at low interest rates.

Amendment 3 was rejected. It would have widened the definition of what can be considered in fiscal legislative sessions held every two years to deal with mainly budget and tax issues.

Amendment 4 was approved. It will require that state or local governments from outside Louisiana pay taxes on property they own in the state.

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