Candidates tackle issues, as well as absent opponent, in gubernatorial debate
BATON ROUGE (AP) — With Louisiana’s Election Day just five weeks away, candidates running for governor outlined their ideas on how to address the state’s most pressing issues during the first major televised gubernatorial debate Thursday in the hopes of standing out from the pack and catching up to the early GOP front-runner who skipped the event.
The debate, hosted by WWL-TV Channel 4, provided some long-sought clarity on where candidates stand when it comes to certain laws and proposed legislation that have dominated conversations in the Capitol over the past year, including Louisiana’s near-total abortion ban, a prohibition on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths, proposals to raise the minimum wage and redistricting of congressional maps.
With no incumbent on the ballot this year, Louisiana’s gubernatorial election has attracted seven major candidates. John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor currently in office in a Deep South state, is unable to seek reelection due to term limits, meaning Republicans have a huge opportunity to seize control of the state’s executive branch.
Under the state’s “jungle primary” system, candidates of all party affiliations are on the same Oct. 14 ballot. If nobody tops 50%, the two leading vote-getters advance to a general election Nov. 18.