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Troy Carter supports Shawn Wilson’s campaign for governor. Here’s why it matters

Shawn Wilson continued to solidify Democratic support in his first week as gubernatorial nominee when he received confirmation on Wednesday from US Rep. Troy Carter, the only Democrat in Louisiana’s congressional delegation.

“Shawn doesn’t play politics,” Carter, who graduated from Algiers’ former O. Perry Walker High School a few years before Wilson, said in a statement. “He works with everyone, is innovative and makes something for the people.”

Carter’s blessing came a day after Gov. John Bel Edwards, the state’s only statewide Democratic elected official, backed Wilson, who served as Edwards’ Secretary of Transportation through Friday.

The support of Carter and Edwards is hardly unexpected, but confirmations in the first two days after Wilson declared his candidacy Monday show how senior Democrats are anxious to close ranks behind him.

“The more top-class recommendations Dr. Wilson, the less likely it is that another well-known Democrat will enter the race,” said Mary-Patricia Wray, a Baton Rouge political adviser who played a key role in the campaign team that elected Edwards in 2015.

“The power of these endorsements isn’t that they’ll persuade voters — they’re not paying close attention to the race just yet — but they will persuade the donor class and other surrogates to come on board, and it will serve as a signal to advisers to do so.” serve that is the Democratic candidate. It’s an important important box to check, and it shows how the behind-the-scenes work has definitely made a difference for Democrats over the past month.”

Carter’s approval came a day after Stephen Waguespack, a Republican and longtime leader of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said he also has his eye on the governor’s race. Other Republican candidates include Attorney General Jeff Landry, Treasurer John Schroder, Senator Sharon Hewitt of Slidell and Rep. Richard Nelson of Mandeville.

Hunter Lundy, a trial attorney and fundamentalist minister, is running for political independence.

Carter won the congressional seat from Cedric Richmond in 2021 in a New Orleans-based district that stretches up the Mississippi River and includes black-majority neighborhoods in Baton Rouge.

Wilson said Ike Spears, a New Orleans attorney who is a key lieutenant in the Carter/Richmond political organization, will be raising money and providing strategic advice for his campaign.

To understand this year’s moves, it helps to recall that Edwards’ campaign for governor momentarily faltered in June 2015 when Tony Clayton, then a prominent African-American attorney in the West Baton Rouge community, suddenly became interested announced that he would run for the governorship.

Clayton soon announced that he would not run, and the Edwards campaign breathed a sigh of relief. No other Democratic candidate emerged to limit Edwards’ support.

Clayton, now district attorney for the communities of West Baton Rouge, Iberville and Pointe Coupee, was asked on Wednesday if he would support Wilson this year.

“I have never spoken to Shawn Wilson about running, nor have I spoken to the governor about it,” Clayton said. “I have to admit that the governor carries a lot of weight with me. I’d love to hear the governor explain Shawn’s road to victory. The governor was there and did that.”

Gary Chambers Jr., a Democrat who finished second to Senator John Kennedy in last year’s US Senate campaign, said the chances of him running for governor are “zero. Looking forward to a great secretary race. He knows how the state works and how things are done. I hope other leading Democrats will join behind Secretary Wilson.”