CEO of powerful Louisiana business group runs for Governor

The head of one of Louisiana’s most powerful business groups, Stephen Waguespack, announced Thursday he will run for Governor in October.

He told Louisiana Association of Business and Industry board members that he was resigning from his position of 10 years, as president and CEO of the group, to launch his Republican gubernatorial bid.

“The stakes are high, time is of the essence and I cannot sit on the sidelines when the future of our state is at stake,” Waguespack wrote in an email to board members.

Waguespack, who previously served as senior aide to former Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, said he made the decision after examining how Louisiana stacks up economically compared to other states, and after participating in a gubernatorial candidate forum.

“It became crystal clear to me that I can best help Louisiana by entering this race and focusing on effective answers to the real problems facing our people,” Waguespack wrote.

Waguespack, 49, joined a growing list of prominent Republican candidates vying for the position of Governor: Attorney General Jeff Landry; state Treasurer John Schroder; state Sen. Sharon Hewitt; and state Rep. Richard Nelson. In addition, Xan John, a businessman who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate twice, also announced his bid as a Republican.

Former Louisiana Transportation Secretary, Shawn Wilson, officially entered the Governor’s race Monday. Wilson, who appears to be the only high-profile Democrat running for the state’s top government post in October, received current Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ endorsement Tuesday. Daniel “Danny” Cole, a Pentecostal pastor and special education teacher in central Louisiana, is also running for the seat as a Democrat.

In addition, lesser-known candidates — Hunter Lundy, a Lake Charles small business owner and attorney, and Jeffery Istre, an oil field worker and U.S. Army veteran — have launched gubernatorial bids as independent candidates.

Also considering entering the race is Republican state House Speaker Clay Schexnayder.

Under Louisiana’s “jungle” Primary system, all candidates — regardless of party affiliation — will run against one another on the same ballot on Oct. 14. If no candidate tops 50% in that Primary, the top two vote-getters will advance to the General Election on Nov. 18.

Edwards, a two-term incumbent, is unable to run for Governor again due to term limits — opening a huge opportunity for the GOP in a state where former President Donald Trump overwhelmingly won the last two presidential elections.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

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