In 1995 all elections in Louisiana—with the exception of U.S. presidential elections—followed a variation of the open primary system called the jungle primary (the system has since been abandoned for all federal elections but remains in use for state and local elections). Candidates of any and all parties are listed on one ballot; voters need not limit themselves to the candidates of one party. Unless one candidate takes more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a run-off election is then held between the top two candidates, who may in fact be members of the same party. In this election, the first round of voting was held on October 21, 1995, and the runoff was held on November 18, 1995.
The makeup of the field led some analysts to dub this the "twins election", as each major candidate had a rival who appealed to a similar constituency or voter base. The sets of "twins" were: two mainstream Republican former governors (Treen and Roemer); two moderate Democrat female state-wide office holders with ties to New Orleans (Landrieu and Schwegmann); two conservative Democrat state legislators (Foster and Adley); and two liberal, black Democrat U.S. representatives (Fields and Jefferson).
Treen and Jefferson eventually chose not to officially enter the race, and Foster switched his party identification to Republican at the time of qualifying. Also, attorney Phil Preis entered the race as a Democrat, and with a self-financed campaign was able to enter the top tier of candidates. Eight minor candidates also qualified for the ballot.