BATON ROUGE, La. — The first democrat has entered the Louisiana governor’s race. Shawn Wilson stepped down as Louisiana Transportation Secretary on Friday.
Monday, he joined the field of candidates vying for the state's highest office.
“We will always face obstacles,” Wilson said in a Facebook post announcing his candidacy. “To overcome them requires leaders that will work with everyone at all levels of government regardless of party or ideology.”
Wilson promises to build bridges, not burn them down.
In an interview with WBRZ TV in Baton Rouge, Wilson said he’s running to help bridge the divide when it comes to public safety, education, juvenile justice and economic opportunities.
“Literally and figuratively, I’ve been a bridge builder. I’ve learned to overcome these obstacles that we always have in Louisiana and work with people from all walks of life regardless of party, ideology, and work with them to a common solution. That solution will always put Louisiana first.”
Wilson enters a race already steeped in republican candidates – including State Sen. Sharon Hewitt from Slidell, Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Rep. Richard Nelson from Mandeville, and state Treasurer John Schroder.
“There’s no guarantee that he will be the only major democrat.,” WWL-TV Political Analyst Clancy DuBos said. “If he is, he should have a pretty clear path to the runoff.”
Dubos says if Wilson makes the runoff, he could face major challenges as a democrat and African American candidate.
“If you look at races where it was a black versus a white or a democrat versus a republican, we’ve not had a black elected official statewide since reconstruction.”
Wilson says he has a message that can cross party and racial lines.
“I look forward to being substantive on real issues. I look forward not necessarily just blowing a dog whistle to help move people emotionally to my side.
Wilson now lives in Lafayette, but he’s originally from New Orleans.
The Republican Governor’s Association had this reaction to Wilson entering the Louisiana governor’s race.
“Shawn Wilson wants a new job but based on his decades-long record in government, he’d drive the state of Louisiana right off a cliff. Wilson would be an ally of national far left extremists, and put the people of Louisiana last, just like he did in state government."