Opponents challenge most Louisiana state elected officials

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Derrick Edwards, candidate for treasurer, leave the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office after signing up to run in the upcoming election, in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, August 6, 2019. The candidate sign-up period for Louisiana’s statewide elections ends Thursday, with the governor’s race at the top of the ballot. (AP Photo/Michael DeMocker)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s state treasurer signed up for the fall ballot Wednesday, becoming the last of seven statewide elected officials to register for re-election, nearly all of whom have drawn opponents.

Republican John Schroder, who won his position in a 2017 special election, qualified for the Oct. 12 election on the second day of the three-day signup period. He’ll face a rematch from lawyer Derrick Edwards, a New Orleans area Democrat, who registered Tuesday to run against Schroder.

Schroder said he’ll continue to run on the same issue he’s discussed since he represented a St. Tammany Parish district in the state House, government spending levels.

“The Legislature and the administration continue to spend every dime that they have and that they think they’re going to have,” the incumbent treasurer said.

Schroder repeatedly has pushed to shrink state borrowing and spending, to no avail. He acknowledges the treasurer — essentially the state banker, in charge of investing, disbursing and managing the state’s money and its savings accounts — can do little to change those policies, without action from a governor and lawmakers.

“But that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to talk about what I believe to be a solid fiscal policy that they need to hear,” he said.

Edwards said he would work to improve Louisiana’s national credit rating — but he didn’t elaborate about how the treasurer could make such change with limited control over spending and debt policies.

“We are fighting for the financial soul of Louisiana’s economy,” he said, offering scant remarks to reporters after qualifying.

Schroder isn’t the only one drawing a repeat opponent.

Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin faces two challengers, including Gwen Collins-Greenup, a Democrat who has worked in the tax, notary and real estate businesses and lost to Ardoin in a special election last year.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards registered for his re-election bid Tuesday, along with his two major Republican competitors: U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone.

Seven candidates had qualified in the governor’s race through Wednesday, with Gary Landrieu, an independent from Metairie, joining the field of contenders.

Landrieu, a cousin of Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and ex-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, has run unsuccessfully for several offices over the years. He said he’s running for governor because “our leaders have failed us.”

He got into a dispute with the secretary of state’s office and said he intends to sue because the office wouldn’t let his name appear on the ballot as Gary “Go Gary” Landrieu. Landrieu called “Go Gary” a nickname. The secretary of state’s office said “Go Gary” was a campaign slogan and was prohibited from the ballot.

The remaining four Republican statewide elected officials also have registered for their re-election bids: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon and Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain.

Nungesser and Landry haven’t attracted opposition so far.

Donelon, a Metairie Republican in office since 2006, faces intraparty competition from Tim Temple, who said he’s worked in the insurance industry for 20 years and who has put more than $1 million of his own cash into the race.

Temple, of Baton Rouge, said Donelon has done too little to lessen insurance rates and attract competition to the market. He described Donelon as “asleep at the wheel.” Donelon said he’s boosted the number of companies writing insurance in Louisiana and approved several auto insurance rate decreases this year.

Strain has two Democratic competitors so far. Among them is Marguerite Green, a New Orleans vegetable and flower farmer who said she’s running because Strain hasn’t offered leadership on changing agriculture policies to respond to climate change.

Candidate registration continues through Thursday.

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Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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