Kyle Ardoin won a full four-year term as secretary of state Saturday night in a do-over election against his opponent in last year’s special election.

With almost all the votes counted, Republican Ardoin had about 59% of the 1.46 million votes cast and was about 266,000 ballots ahead of his Democratic opponent, Gwen Collins-Greenup, of Clinton.

The third highest-ranked state executive, the secretary of state holds Louisiana’s official seal, registers new businesses, archives government papers and runs a few museums, as well as overseeing the state’s elections.

A former Baton Rouge lobbyist who served as the top assistant to Tom Schedler in charge of day-to-day operations, Ardoin took over the office when his boss resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct with an employee. After saying he wouldn’t, Ardoin nevertheless joined the race to fill out the remaining year of Schedler’s term and ended up facing Collins-Greenup in December 2018.

A pastor, accountant and law student with two sons in college, Collins-Greenup traveled around the state to meet voters at churches, at community events and even when she “was just jogging or something."

Largely unknown among a pack of legislators and top-level bureaucrats, Collins-Greenup’s relentless retail campaign helped her emerge at the top of the nine-candidate field in 2018 primary. But, as often is the case for Democrats running statewide in red Louisiana, she lost to a Republican in the head-to-head runoff.

Collins-Greenup felt she had a better chance this year when turnout was expected to be far greater than the 17% turnout in last year's election.

The office has been held by Republicans for 29 of the past 31 years. When Fox McKeithen died in office, his second-in-command, a registered Democrat, filled out the remaining two years of his term.

Ardoin burnishes his conservative partisan views far more than earlier secretaries of state, who as the official in charge elections tended to downplay their personal political philosophies.

But Ardoin appeared on the stage with President Donald Trump at rallies that were ostensibly for GOP gubernatorial contender Eddie Rispone. Trump praised Ardoin at the political rallies.

State law forbids a secretary of state from participating or engaging in political activity outside his own candidacy. When the issue was raised by the media and others, Ardoin’s political strategist — the secretary of state rarely speaks directly to the media — issued a statement to WAFB-TV saying Ardoin had attended the events to accept Trump’s endorsement.

From the secretary of state’s seat on the Bond Commission, Ardoin cast the deciding vote to ban two of the nation’s largest banks from competing to write loans for three highway projects because the institutions had adopted gun control policies. He also fought a law that allows convicts to vote again a few years after having successfully completed their sentences.

Republicans have rallied around initiatives to purge voters from rolls, forbid registration on Election Day and require photo IDs before allowing voters to cast ballots. Democrats, in general, have argued that such tactics hinder minorities, who are more likely to back Democratic candidates, from voting far more than voters among the majority population.

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