Conservative former Congressman John Fleming was expected to clinch his runoff Saturday over progressive Democrat Dustin Granger to become Louisiana’s state treasurer, helping to complete a Republican sweep of statewide elections this year.
Fleming led Granger with 66% of the vote as of 8:30 p.m., according to incomplete, unofficial totals from the Louisiana Secretary of State. Incumbent treasurer John Schroder ran for governor, unsuccessfully, instead of seeking reelection.
When he takes office Jan. 8, Fleming will be the only statewide elected from north Louisiana. A resident of Minden, he is a physician who represented the Shreveport area in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009 to 2017. He also owns several Subway franchises.
After leaving Capitol Hill, Fleming joined President Donald Trump’s administration. He worked as a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, assistant secretary for economic development with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and as a White House senior adviser.
As treasurer, Fleming has said he wants to focus on economic development and Louisiana’s property insurance crisis, though the office doesn’t directly oversee programs in those areas.
“There is no specific authority or role given to the state treasurer” on economic development, Fleming said in an interview with Louisiana Public Broadcasting. “It’s an indirect role, frankly. For the time being, it will have to be a collaboration with the governor and legislature.”
The treasurer is the chair of the State Bond Commission, which manages the government’s borrowing and debt. The seatholder also runs the popular unclaimed property program that helps people access forgotten money, stocks, utility deposits and inheritances.
Perhaps most importantly, the treasurer manages and invests the state’s money and hires the government’s primary financial advisers.
Schroder has steered Louisiana away from using financial firms with environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies that guide their investments. That includes advisers that back renewable energy. Fleming has said he will do the same.
“The so-called renewables are not very competitive,” Fleming said in a previous interview. “Consumers aren’t purchasing renewable vehicles. … They aren’t doing well in the marketplace.”
In the primary election last month, Fleming and Granger beat out a more moderate Republican, state Rep. Scott McKnight, for slots in the runoff.
After Fleming became the only Republican in the race, money from lobbyists and interest groups started pouring in to support his campaign. The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry political action committees gave Fleming $40,000 on Nov. 1. In all, Fleming raised $727,000 to run for treasurer this year, compared with $383,000 Granger’s campaign raised.
Starting next year, the GOP will hold all statewide elected positions in state government for the first time since 2015. Fleming was one of three conservative Republicans elected to statewide positions Saturday. The other two, Liz Murrill and Nancy Landry, won the attorney general and secretary of state races, respectively.