FILE - Louisiana State Capitol

The Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

All three high-profile candidates for governor signed up Tuesday on the first day of qualifying for Louisiana’s fall elections.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, filed his paperwork Tuesday. So did his top two Republican challengers: Congressman Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone.

Every statewide elected office and legislative seat is up for grabs in October. Everyone runs on the same ballot regardless of party; if no candidate gets more than half of the votes, the top two face off again in November.

All of the other incumbent statewide officials, all Republicans, signed up on the first day except Treasurer John Schroder, who is expected to qualify Wednesday. Qualifying ends Thursday.

Two little-known candidates also are running to be the state’s top executive: Democrat Oscar “Omar” Dantzler of Hammond and Republican Patrick “Live Wire” Landry of New Orleans.

Dantzler, a bail bondsman and lawn care professional, ran for mayor of Hammond last year and got 12 percent of the vote. Dantzler is black and hails from the same parish as Edwards, and The Hayride, a conservative blog that favors Republicans, speculates he could shave a few points off Edwards’ vote total and help keep the governor from winning re-election in the first round.

Landry has run for governor or Congress at least three times previously without garnering as much as 1 percent of the vote.

Attorney General Jeff Landry and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser didn’t draw opponents on the first day of qualifying.

Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup is running for Secretary of State against Kyle Ardoin. Collins-Greenup made the runoff in the special election for the office last year but lost to Ardoin, who is running for a full term this year.

Democrats Marguerite Green and Peter Williams are running against incumbent Mike Strain for agriculture and forestry commissioner.

Green supports legalizing marijuana, which would need the support of legislators and most likely the governor, though the agriculture commissioner does regulate medical marijuana. Williams has run for Congress at least three times, never cracking 2 percent of the vote.

Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon, in office since 2006, is being challenged by insurance executive and fellow Republican Tim Temple. Though far less well-known than Donelon, he has been endorsed by the Louisiana Motor Transport Association.

New Orleans attorney Derrick Edwards, the only Democrat to run for treasurer in the last election, is again running for treasurer. Edwards was the leading vote-getter in the 2017 primary but lost in the runoff, 56 percent to 44 percent.

Staff Writer

David Jacobs is a Baton Rouge-based award-winning journalist who has written about government, politics, business and culture in Louisiana for almost 15 years. He joined The Center Square in 2018.