BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The landscape of politics has vastly changed since the last time the Louisiana's governor's race took place without an incumbent.
Michael Henderson from LSU's Public Policy Research Lab said one of the biggest changes is the presence of Super PACs, independent political action committees that can raise nearly unlimited funds, but cannot directly contribute to a candidate.
"Super PACs are new to Louisiana gubernatorial elections. This is really our first year with them," Henderson told the Baton Rouge Press Club.
Super PACs have become regular fixtures in national races, and now Henderson said they're impacting state elections in a big way.
For example, in the primary race for governor, Henderson said negative campaign ads started running earlier. There were also more of them.
While analysts are still crunching the numbers on who paid for what, Henderson suspects the PACs are behind many of them.
"What happens when Super PACs came along, is they took over the burden of responsibility on those attacks," said Henderson. "That's tremendously important. Because there's good information out there, solid research out there that negative ads have a blow back effect."
However, Henderson also added that negative ads would persist even without Super PACs.
Preliminary numbers from the Center for Public Integrity showed nearly $16 million were spent on TV ads during the primary election cycle, and $10 million of that was just the governor's race. Now with the race clearly defined along party lines, many expect the runoffs and the ads to become even more heated.