BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In a surprise, Gwen Collins-Greenup advanced Tuesday to the December runoff for secretary of state (SOS) after raising less money than each of the other eight candidates.
She finished with more than 289,000 votes, 10,000 fewer than the leader, Interim Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.
“I’m used to taking challenges and making the best of them,” she said. “It actually makes me feel great, to be looked at as the underdog, considering I come from a small rural community and I was able to work my way up to the big city of Baton Rouge.”
Political experts say Collins-Greenup benefited from unexpected high voter turnout. She was also the first Democrat listed alphabetically on the ballot, and the only African-American candidate.
But Collins-Greenup attributes her success to a simple, door-to-door campaign.
“Because I was making face-to-face contact, I felt like the voters would give me back what I was putting into our state,” she said. “I felt like I could pull it off just by getting the turnout up.”
If elected, she says she would consider purchasing new voting machines with paper receipts, which Ardoin was in the process of doing until the state’s top contract examiner canceled the deal he signed with Dominion Voting systems because of flaws in the bidding process.
Collins-Greenup says she would also create a cyber security division within the Secretary of State’s Office. Ardoin says he moved his chief IT worker into a cyber security “officer” role last month.
“To whom much is given, much is required,” Collins-Greenup said. “I’m ready to give back to my state.”
She also says she’d like to boost voter enthusiasm, especially in young voters, by guest lecturing civics classes and running social media campaigns.
“If we have 450,000 people making decisions for 4.6 million Louisianans, that is concerning.”
Election day is December 8.