The Weight of the State: Much on the Line for Louisiana’s Primary Elections

Louisiana’s voters have a lot to consider as they head to the polls to pick their new governor.

The average price of homeowners’ insurance in Louisiana is $2,675 a year – 47 percent more than the country’s $1,820 annual average.

Homeowners’ insurance is important for residents living in a state prone to hurricanes, but it isn’t affordable for everyone. That lack of affordability can stand between the state’s residents and their ability to maintain their homes, said Tyronne Walker, vice president of policy, strategic partnerships, and development for the Urban League of Louisiana.

“The cost for both car and homeowners’ insurance is sky high,” Walker said. “In our state, there is a huge wealth gap. One of the foundations for building wealth is the ability to own a home. The cost of insurance makes it difficult for African Americans and other people from underserved communities to stay in their homes.”

Homeowners’ insurance will be a hot-button issue when Louisiana voters hit the polls for primary elections on Oct. 14 to select candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, the state legislature, the Attorney General, school boards and the appellate courts.

Even with several offices on the docket, all eyes are on the top of the ticket: Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is finishing up his second and final term as the only Democratic governor in the Deep South.

Ten candidates – two Democrats, three independents, and five Republicans – are vying to succeed Edwards in a non-partisan primary to get to the Nov. 18 statewide election, said Will Sutton, columnist and editorial writer for The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.

“We call it a jungle primary,” Sutton said. “If no one gets above 50%, you have a runoff.”

Attorney Gen. Jeff Landry is the current Republican frontrunner for governor. The Democratic front runner is Shawn Wilson, the former head of Louisiana’s Transportation and Development Department. Landry has the backing of former President Donald Trump.

Seven of the 10 gubernatorial candidates participated in a debate Saturday (Sept. 16). Topics included homeowners’ insurance; Louisiana’s abortion ban, which doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest; and the deterioration of the state’s roads and bridges and whether creating toll roads is the best way to generate revenue to fix and maintain them.

Each candidate also addressed the 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene, which ended with his death at the hands of Louisiana State Police. His death was initially attributed to a car accident before released body camera footage showed that he’d been stunned with a taser, beaten and dragged. Two of the candidates, Landry and Republican state Treasurer John Schroder, pledged to meet with the Greene family should they win.

Organizations including the Urban League of Louisiana and the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice will be working to get out the vote. If you live in Louisiana and would like to help, the Urban League is organizing efforts for the early voting period, which begins Sept. 30.

To sign up, go to or call 504-620-2332.

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