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Poll shows Shawn Wilson, Jeff Landry with early lead in Louisiana governor's race

By Greg Hilburn, Lafayette Daily Advertiser,

2023-03-15

A new poll shows Democrat Shawn Wilson and Republican Jeff Landry neck and neck early in the Louisiana governor's race, though the survey didn't include Republican Stephen Waguespack, who announced his entry into the campaign last week.

The poll, which was paid for by Lincoln Parish District Attorney John Belton, also shows Belton as the frontrunner in the Louisiana attorney general's race with the vast majority of voters in that race undecided.

Veteran Louisiana pollster John Couvillon conducted the poll through his firm JMC Analytics.

The poll showed Wilson, who is Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' former transportation secretary, at 29%, followed by Attorney General Jeff Landry at 28%. Edwards is term-limited and can't run again in this cycle.

But the poll, which was conducted March 6-8, included Republican Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves running third at 12% before Graves opted out of the race last week.

When Graves opted out his friend Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry for the past 10 years, entered the race.

Republican state Treasurer John Schroder, the first to launch a statewide TV ad this week, was next at 3%, followed by Independent trial attorney Hunter Lundy at 3%, Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt at 2% and Republican state Rep. Richard Nelson at 1%.

Though Wilson is considered a longshot, Democrats have consolidated behind his campaign, which Couvillon said will almost certainly vault him into a runoff with the Republican left standing.

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Twenty-two percent of those surveyed for the governor's race said they are undecided.

Couvillon said he believes in Graves' absence that Waguespack might secure as much as half of his support if a new poll was taken.

Meanwhile, Landry continues his effort to consolidate Republican support through endorsements and fundraising.

On Thursday Landry headlines a massive fundraiser in Baton Rouge where the campaign expects to raise more than $500,000 in one night for his personal campaign and the political action committee that supports him at the home of Republican mega donors Dan and Carolyn Heard.

His campaign noted the event is "right in (Waguespack's) back yard."

In the attorney general's poll, which Belton commissioned, the Lincoln Parish district attorney secured 13%, followed by Landry's Solicitor General Republican Liz Murrill at 10%, Republican state Rep. John Stefanski at 7% and Republican Marty Maley at 2%.

Murrill has nearly doubled her opponents in fundraising with $896,000 cash on hand in her last report. Stefanski reported $512,000 cash on hand, followed by Belton at $455,000 cash on hand.

But 68% of those surveyed said they were undecided in the attorney general's race.

Qualifying for the Oct. 14 primary election is Aug. 8-10.

More: In surprise move, Louisiana insurance commissioner won't run for reelection

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1 .

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Poll shows Shawn Wilson, Jeff Landry with early lead in Louisiana governor's race

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