1983 Louisiana gubernatorial election

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Louisiana gubernatorial election, 1983

← 1979 October 22, 1983 1987 →
  Edwin Edwards.jpg Dave Treen.jpg
Nominee Edwin Edwards Dave Treen
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,002,798 585,692
Percentage 62.3% 36.4%

Louisiana gubernatorial election, 1983.svg
Parish Results
     50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%

Governor before election

Dave Treen

Elected Governor

Edwin Edwards

The Louisiana gubernatorial election of 1983 resulted in the election of Edwin Edwards as Governor of Louisiana, defeating incumbent David Treen.


Elections in Louisiana—with the exception of U.S. presidential elections—follow a variation of the open primary system called the jungle primary. 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 22, 1983. Since Edwards won more than 50% of the votes on the first round, no runoff was needed. The runoff for other statewide offices which required one was November 19, 1983.

Treen became the first of three consecutive Louisiana governors to be denied re-election. Edwards himself was defeated by north Louisiana U.S. Representative Buddy Roemer in 1987, refusing to contest the runoff after trailing Roemer in the primary. Edwards came back in 1991, and along with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, combined to oust Roemer in the primary before Edwards routed Duke in the runoff to win a fourth gubernatorial term.

This was the first time that any contestant for the governors election in Louisiana received at least one million votes.[1] Edwards also won 62 out of 64 parishes against Treen. Treen only carried Jefferson Parish, where he resided at the time; and St. Tammany Parish, where he would eventually move following completion of his term.


Louisiana gubernatorial election, 1983[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Edwin Edwards 1,002,798 62.31%
Republican David Treen 585,692 36.39%
Republican Robert M. Ross 7,777 0.48%
Democratic Ken "Cousin Ken" Lewis 4,117 0.26%
Independent Charley Moore 2,381 0.15%
Democratic Floyd Smith 2,264 0.14%
Independent Michele A. Smith 2,253 0.14%
Independent Joseph Thomas Robino, Jr. 1,038 0.06%
Democratic Michael J. Musmeci, Sr. 1,032 0.06%
Total votes 1,609,352 100.0%
Democratic gain from Republican


(1) Gubernatorial Debate on September 7, 1983 [1]

(2) Gubernatorial Debate on September 14, 1983 [2]

(3) Election Special from LPB on October 21, 1983 detailing in-depth report on the statewide primary elections [3]

(4) Edwin Edwards Campaign Commercial "Edwin Edwards....Now" [4]

(5) Profile of Edwin Edwards from WWL-TV New Orleans on October 22, 1983 [5]

(6) Edwards Victory Speech after winning landslide re-election to third term on WWL-TV New Orleans on October 22, 1983 [6]

(7) LPB Coverage on the Primary Recap from October 28, 1983 [7]


  1. ^ "Louisiana gubernatorial election results, 1983". Louisiana Secretary of State. October 22, 1983. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Louisiana gubernatorial election results, 1983". Louisiana Secretary of State. October 22, 1983. Retrieved August 14, 2017.

Preceded by
1979 gubernatorial election
Louisiana gubernatorial elections Succeeded by
1987 gubernatorial election