State Rep. Richard Nelson launched his campaign for Louisiana governor on Wednesday, joining a swelling list of prominent Republicans who are running to lead the state.
Nelson, of Mandeville, joins Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Treasurer John Schroder and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt in vying for the GOP nomination. Hunter Lundy, a Lake Charles small-business owner and attorney, has said he’ll be running as an independent. No Democrats have entered the race yet.
Nelson, 36, is the youngest candidate so far. He is an attorney and biological engineer and spent seven years with the U.S. State Department, including overseas, before he was elected to the state House in 2019. As a lawmaker, he has focused on legislation designed to improve literacy and eliminate the state income tax.
“Louisiana has everything going for it, but is held back by leaders who are stuck in the past,” Nelson said in his announcement video.
Louisiana’s current governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, is unable to run this year due to term limits, creating a huge opportunity for the GOP to capture the state’s top government post.
With the election just nine months away, the ballot is filling up and additional announcements may be on the horizon. Political observers have speculated that U.S. Rep. Garret Graves may soon announce whether he’ll run for governor.
It remains unclear who will emerge as a Democratic candidate, but Shawn Wilson, secretary for the state Department of Transportation and Development, and Katie Bernhardt, who chairs the state Democratic Party, are considered possible contenders.
Gubernatorial candidates are required to officially submit qualifying papers to the secretary of state between Aug. 8 and Aug. 10.
Under Louisiana’s “jungle” primary system, all candidates — regardless of party affiliation — will run against one another on the same ballot Oct. 14. If no candidate tops 50% in that primary, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on Nov. 18.