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Negative campaigning dominates in governor's race; analysts say, 'because it works'

4 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago Tuesday, September 26 2023 Sep 26, 2023 September 26, 2023 10:27 PM September 26, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW ORLEANS- Only Stephen Waguespack and Shawn Wilson showed up to an hour-long debate at the University of New Orleans on Tuesday, with election day inching closer.

A few things have become very clear: Jeff Landry is in the lead, the amount of smear ads has increased, and Landry has skipped most of the debates.

"Every metric shows that Attorney General Jeff Landry is by far the front runner," political analyst James Hartman told WBRZ. "When you are the front runner, what do you really have to gain (by debating)? All you can really do is lose."

The one time Landry appeared on the debate stage, he was attacked by all of his opposition.

But that isn't the only smear tactic we have seen recently. More TV ads focused on attacking candidates, discrediting their accomplishments, and questioning their backgrounds have been aired.

Hartman says this is likely going to continue for one simple reason—it works.

"Everyone complains about it, but it is usually the negative ads that people remember most," Hartman said.

One example of a scathing ad changing the trajectory of a gubernatorial election happened in 2015.

"Look at Governor Edwards and his award-winning commercial against Senator Vitter. It was titled 'Prostitutes over Patriots,'" Hartman said. "It was very negative, somewhat personal, but I think that ad made quite a bit of difference."

In the next three weeks, Louisianians can expect to see all the candidates swing at one another. But Hartman says a runoff between Jeff Landry and Shawn Wilson is the most likely outcome.

"It would take some monumental upheaval for the dynamics of this race to change this late in the game," Hartman said.

The election is Oct. 14. The runoff, if necessary, will happen Nov. 18. 

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