SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced his support for former Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Shawn Wilson as the next governor Tuesday morning.

“Today, I am proud to endorse Shawn WIlson. When I was elected Governor, the only person I wanted to serve as your Transportation Secretary was Shawn Wilson. Shawn’s reputation speaks for itself. He’s spent his career bringing people together to accomplish the most difficult tasks. In his seven years as Secretary, he has overseen the implementation of the largest infrastructure investments in our state’s history. We are finally tackling the infrastructure projects we have dreamed about for decades. His success in this role was only possible because he works with anyone, regardless of political party, to get things done.

“While in many significant ways Louisiana is demonstrably better today than when I was elected, we have our fair share of challenges, and I believe the only way to overcome them is by putting partisan differences aside to put Louisiana first. Shawn shares my belief that we should put what’s best for our people before what’s best for our political parties. If we’re going to continue to move Louisiana in the right direction, we need Shawn as our next Governor. He’s exactly the type of leader who will bridge the partisan divides that too often take hold of our politics. Donna and I are proud to endorse his campaign, and we ask Louisianans to lift their prayers with ours for Shawn, his wife, Rocki, and their family as they embark on this journey.”

Wilson worked under four governors in the state and said at the time of his announcement that Louisiana needed a governor who would “build bridges, not burn them.”

Wilson is the most prominent Democrat to announce his gubernatorial bid. But he will face at least one primary opponent Daniel “Danny” Cole, a Pentecostal pastor and special education teacher from Central, Louisiana.

In receiving the endorsement, Shawn said:

“The Governor and I have a lot in common – our love of the outdoors, a passion to make our state better, and we both married up by marrying educators. I was honored to serve as Transportation Secretary under Gov. Edwards. He entrusted me with the leadership of a department that would soon make generational change throughout our state.  Gov. Edwards and I know the value in working together. We’ve spent the last 7 years bringing people of both parties to the table to find agreement. That’s the only way to get things done for Louisiana, and as our next Governor, I promise to the people of our state that I will work every day to bridge the divides that hold us back. I’m proud to have the Governor’s endorsement, and Rocki and I are so grateful for the support from him and First Lady Donna Edwards.”

Several prominent Republicans in the state have announced their campaigns including Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Treasurer John Schroder, state Senator Sharon Hewitt, and state Representative Richard Nelson.

There are also three lesser-known candidates in the race: Hunter Lundy, a Lake Charles small business owner and attorney, is running as an independent. Xan John, a businessman who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate twice, is running as a Republican; and Jeffery Istre, an oil field worker, and U.S. Army veteran is running as an Independent.

United States Representative Garrett Graves and state House Speaker Clay Schexnayder are also considering a run for the state’s highest office.

Candidates for the Louisiana Governor’s race must submit qualifying papers to the Louisiana Secretary of State between August 8 and August 10.

All candidates will appear on the same ballot on Oct. 14 for the Louisiana “jungle” primary. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election on November 18.