Qualifying is officially over; where do the latest candidates stand in Governors race?

Campaign season is officially in full swing with the last of the candidates for governor qualifying today.
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 6:01 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Campaign season is officially in full swing with the last of the candidates for governor qualifying today. Stephen Waguespack, the former president of The Louisiana Association on Business and Industry is expected to be a strong Republican contender. But recent polls tend to show Republican Jeff Landry and Democrat Shawn Wilson in the lead by double digits.

Waguespack says now is the perfect time to dig his heals in.

“I am hoping, now that there’s qualifying, this is a great opportunity for a reset moment for all of us. Each of the candidates in this race, I hope everyone takes this moment to reset what you stand for, what are your core values, what is going to be your message going forward,” said Waguespack.

Although Landry has a growing list of big-name endorsements, Waguespack says the race is far from over.

“You wanna beat me, beat me on the merits, beat me with your message, beat me with your money, beat me anyway you want. But all of the political experts and smoke-filled rooms that said this election was decided 6 months ago don’t know what the heck they’re talking about,” Waguespack affirmed.

WAFB Political Analyst, Jim Engster, says Waguespack’s campaign strategy could use some reviewing.

“It was hoped by his people that either another democrat would get in the race or some of the republicans would get out and as we head to the finish line with qualifying it doesn’t look like he going to get either of his wishes. It’s not a good hand that Stephen Waguespack is playing right now. There’s always a possibility but at this point I would say his campaign is on life support,” Engster explained.

Richard Nelson, a state Representative from Mandeville, has struggled to get his campaign off the ground from the start, barely polling above 2%. His message is we need to implement what’s worked in other southern states that are taking all the jobs and opportunities with, he says, one man to blame.

“Huey Long really set this up, he set the system we have in place and that’s who I’m running against because that’s what’s holding the state back. Any individual candidate doesn’t really matter and hasn’t really affected me,” said Nelson to the press.

At age 37, Nelson is one of the youngest candidates. He says his campaign will put more focus on the young voters who by almost every measure are leaving the state in droves.

“I think when you have younger candidates that are talking about the issues that are driving people, I think that’s really important. And as part of my campaign strategy, I will try and target those younger voters because I think that when they look through the field, I’m probably their only choice,” Nelson added.

“I did see Richard nelson at 3% in one of the latest polls, so he is moving but he’s got a long way to go and a short time to get there. I don’t think this is his last dance, but this has to be a set back and he’ll have to reassess if he wants to stay in politics or move onto something else,” Engster continued.

The primary for the gubernatorial candidates is October 14th.

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