Hardy Ousts Freeman, Attorney General Re-elected With AM-Louisiana Governor, Bjt
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Republican Paul Hardy says his call for the same sweeping reforms that propelled Buddy Roemer to victory in the governor’s race led to his runoff win over Lt. Gov. Bobby Freeman.
″We are completing a revolution. I will be involved in a team that will change the direction of this state,″ Hardy told his supporters in Baton Rouge after he was declared the winner Saturday night.
In other statewide races, Attorney General William Guste won a fifth term over Orleans Parish District Attorney Harry Connick, while state Rep. Fox McKeithen, the son of former Gov. John McKeithen, was elected secretary of state.
Unofficial returns from all of the state’s 3,262 precincts showed Hardy with 521,281 votes, or 53 percent, to 460,138 for Freeman.
Under the state’s 12-year-old constitution, the lieutenant governor has no official duties.
The lieutenant governor should work closely with the new governor in touting his plan to change the state’s tax system, promote business and improve Louisiana’s public schools, Hardy said.
Freeman, a Democrat who had led the Oct. 24 primary with 40 percent of the vote, said he had given his ″heart and soul to Louisiana″ and pledged to remain active in the state’s affairs.
The runoff election attracted 49 percent of the registered voters, compared to 71 percent in the balloting three weeks ago when Roemer led the governor’s race and obtained an election night concession from Gov. Edwin Edwards, said Darrell Cobb, state elections director.
In the attorney general’s race, Connick attacked Guste’s handling of a lawsuit against Texaco Inc. over $387 million in alleged underpayments of natural gas royalties on state-owned land. Connick also criticized the incumbent’s record in fighting crime and his actions in environmental and consumer protection cases.
Guste tallied 516,259 votes, or 54 percent, to 440,944 for Connick. Both are Democrats.
In the secretary of state’s race, McKeithen tallied 489,627 votes, or 51 percent, to 467,340 for Baton Rouge lawyer Mike Cutshaw, who was making his first run for a political office. Both are Democrats.
Voters also approved five proposed constitutional amendments, including one calling for a 40-year plan to pay off an unfunded liability of more than $5 billion in the state retirement systems.
And Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee, who created a furor last year with his short-lived order to stop blacks wandering through white neighborhoods, picked up 54 percent of the vote to defeat Art Lentini, a former assistant district attorney.