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Louisiana Governor 2023 Ad Spending Analysis

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Written by Sydney Beckham

On October 14th, Louisiana will hold its statewide elections, including the closely watched Louisiana Gubernatorial race. While John Bel Edwards (D) finishes his last term in office, the race for Louisiana Governor has become a crowded fifteen candidate field as Republicans try to win back the state’s top seat. In the event that no candidate secures over 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election on November 18th. In hopes to win the general election, candidates and PACs have spent a combined $29M on advertisements across the Bayou state.

In the 2019 Louisiana Gubernatorial general election (runoff excluded), advertisers spent $32M on ads with $15.5M coming from Democrats and $16.5M coming from Republicans. In the 2023 election, Democrat spending has only amounted to $1.1M. Independent candidate spending stands at $2.2M while Republican advertisers have spent $26.3M.

Louisiana’s current Attorney General, Jeff Landry (R), is the top spender in this year’s election with $9M in ads. The only outside group to spend in support of his candidacy was America’s PAC with $82K on radio. Landry has consistently been the top polling candidate according to FiveThirtyEight and will likely advance to the runoff if he does not win outright by receiving over 50% of the vote. John Schroder (R), the current Louisiana State Treasurer, is also running in the Gubernatorial race and has spent $2.6M in ads, with minimal outside group support. Another prominent candidate, Hunter Lundy (I), has spent $2.2M. Former LA Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) has only spent $960K on ads.

Stephen Waguespack (R) has been the only candidate in the race to receive significant outside group spending support. Wageuspack’s campaign has spent $2.1M on ads, while Reboot Louisiana has spent $3M on ads in his support. Ads from the group claim “politicians won’t save us, an outsider will,” referencing Waguespack. Reboot Louisiana also attacked Jeff Landry in an ad from May, claiming, “under Landry’s watch, Louisiana is now the most dangerous state in America”.

Issue groups have spent a combined total of $12.4M in the Louisiana Gubernatorial race. The top spender among issue groups is RGA Right Direction PAC, which has spent $4.7M in ads attacking the prominent Democrat candidate, Shawn Wilson. One ad from the GOP group says, Wilson is even more liberal than Biden, while another ad accuses Wilson of making deals with Democratic megadonors during his time serving as the LA Transportation Secretary. No PAC has spent money supporting Wilson. Another Republican group, Protect Louisiana’s Children, has spent $3M in ads against both Waguespack and Schroder, highlighting issues such as tax increases and inflation.

A donut chart showing Louisiana Gubernatorial spending

As Republicans attempt to take back the Governor seat with $26.2M in ad spending, Democrat candidate Shawn Wilson has only spent $960K on ads and received no outside group spending. Wilson has also received the most opposition spending from the RGA Right Direction PAC with $4.7M. Jeff Landry has become a leading candidate among Republicans based on polling and his ad expenditure of over $9M. If a runoff occurs, we will surely see millions more spent from candidates and PACs next month.

Curious as to how political spending and messaging is shaping up in the GOP Presidential Primary? Check out our last blog here.

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