Louisiana Republican Rep. Garret Graves endorsed businessman Stephen Waguespack for the 2023 gubernatorial election on Wednesday, the Daily Caller News Foundation first learned.
Waguespack, the former president of the Louisiana Business Association, jumped in the state’s open primary in early March. Graves, who was appointed by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to lead debt ceiling talks during the negotiations with President Joe Biden, will back Waguespack for Louisiana governor and become the first federal office holder to officially endorse him, the DCNF confirmed.
“The race for the next governor of Louisiana is a serious one. We need safer communities, better schools, and economic opportunity for everyone in our state,” Graves told the DCNF in a statement. “That is why I am proud to endorse Stephen Waguespack. He is the best candidate to buck the broken politics as usual and deliver the Louisiana we deserve.”
“I am honored to have the endorsement of Congressman Garret Graves. He knows the high stakes we face here, and I look forward to working with him to lead Louisiana’s comeback,” Waguespack told the DCNF in a statement. “We can no longer afford to continue down the current path of politics as usual and I intend to bring bold conservative leadership to Louisiana to get our state back on track.”
Waguespack, who served as former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief of staff, intends to expand school choice, implement tax reform and cut government regulation and bureaucracies, he previously told the DCNF.
The businessman joined the governor’s race relatively late, so not much polling is available; however a Club for Growth memo from late April indicates Waguespack has 2% support. Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is leading the field with 36%, followed by Democrat Shawn Wilson and Republican State Treasurer John Schroder at 18% and 6%, respectively.
Louisiana’s “jungle” primary allows for all candidates, regardless of party, to face one another. If no one wins the primary on Oct. 14, the two top contenders will go head-to-head in a general election on Nov. 18.
“I am committed to stopping the brain drain and [beginning] the era of brain gain here in Louisiana,” Waguespack previously told the DCNF. “The people of this state are tired of seeing their kids, families and friends leave for other states for jobs. They are tired of seeing other southern states grow and prosper, while we fall behind. They are tired of politics as usual and they want leaders that share their values and can also fix problems.”
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