2023 Elections Will Create Shake-Up in State Government

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Though most New Orleanians are not looking beyond the November 13, 2021 municipal elections, candidates are already starting to emerge for the 2023 statewide races. Based on changes in population and politics of course, many legislative districts will be redrawn with new candidates emerging from possible shifts in power.

With Governor John Bel Edwards facing term limits, both Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and Attorney General Jeff Landry are openly eyeing the state’s top office. The chances of Landry running for governor just became more certain when Liz Murrill, a top Landry official, announced her intention to enter the race for A.G. – as long as her boss does not run for re-election. 

Landry appointed Murrill as Louisiana’s first Solicitor General in 2016. She also serves as director of the A.G.’s administrative division. She previously headed up the A.G.’s civil division. As Solicitor General Murrill is the lead counsel on special constitutional litigation and supervises state and federal civil and criminal appeals, according to her Linkedin profile. She has frequently represented the A.G.’s office before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Well-known New Orleans area attorney John Litchfield, a prolific fundraiser, has signed up to chair Murrill’s campaign. Murrill has more than 25 years of experience working in state and federal government legal “environments” and previously served as Executive Counsel to former Governor Bobby Jindal. She held the same position at the Division of Administration. During the BP Oil Spill litigation, Murrill was counsel for the governor’s office. She taught appellate advocacy and legal writing at LSU’s Law Center for more than ten years, and in 2007-2008 was a U.S. Supreme Court Judicial Fellow. A graduate of LSU’s Law Center, Murrill clerked for federal judge Frank J. Polozola and for First Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Melvin Shortness.  

It is expected that Murrill will have Landry’s full support and access to his substantial donor base. Campaign chairman Litchfield is undoubtedly lining up financial commitments from well-healed law firms across the state. While Landry has filed the necessary paperwork to run the seat, she may publicaly downplay the campaign on the short term. She will have to get special written permission from Landry, her close ally, to launch her campaign without resigning or taking unpaid leave from her current position. It’s much easier to earn free media, raise money and do even small favors for potential supporters for those still in a position of power.    

Murrill was smart to make her intentions known early. By doing so, other prospective candidates could decide to forgo the race. Ruston District Attorney John Belton is thought to be planning to enter the fray. Others who could consider the race include Houma State Rep. Tanner Magee who has been extremely outspoken since Hurricane Ida decimated his district, along with State Reps. Blake Miguez, Alan Seabaugh and John Stefanski, according to lapoliticsweekly.com.  

A former member of Congress from Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District, Attorney General Landry rose to power during the Tea Party era and is closely aligned with former president Donald Trump. A native of St. Martinville, Landry joined the Louisiana National Guard while still in high school. Immediately after graduation, he went to work in Louisiana’s sugar cane fields and later worked his way through college as a police officer and deputy sheriff. Before beginning the practice of law, he served as Executive Director of St. Martin Parish’s Economic Development Authority. A veteran of Desert Storm, Landry received numerous awards for his military achievements. 

Landry was elected Attorney General in 2015 after defeating Buddy Caldwell. An arch conservative, he is immediate past president of the National Association of Attorney Generals.

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