John Bel Edwards narrowly wins reelection

Chris Miller
November 16, 2019 - 9:56 pm

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, the Deep South's only Democrat in a governor's office, narrowly won reelection, defeating Republican Eddie Rispone, 51 percent to 49 percent, with 100 percent of precincts counted.

The race was a hard-fought contest with Edwards and Rispone neck-and-neck throughout much of the runoff. Rispone got some big league help with President Donald Trump holding two rallies in Louisiana during the runoff campaign. During his rallies, President Trump attempted to tie Edwards to liberal Democrats in Congress like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and tried to portray the governor as a tax-and-spend liberal trial lawyer.

Edwards, by contrast, kept his campaign focused on how Louisiana now has a $500 million surplus, as opposed to a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall when he took office.

"The partisan forces of Washington, DC are not strong enough to break the bonds we share as Louisianans," Edwards told his victory party. "I have seen what we can do when we work together for the good of our state."

Edwards also has a reputation of being far more moderate than Democrats on the national political scene. The governor touts his pro-life, pro-gun record in a state that's heavily Catholic and considered the "Sportsmen's Paradise."

Edwards says in his first term as governor, he inherited the largest budget deficit in the state’s history. 

The governor campaigned heavily on the fact that he and a bipartisan group of legislators worked together to stabilize Louisiana’s budget.

Edwards also said that his tenure as governor "has been marked by securing the largest economic development project in the state’s history, providing health care to the working poor, and working to make Louisiana’s economy the largest its ever been."

Rispone and others campaigning against Edwards insisted he drove jobs out of the state and plunged Louisiana into the worst economy in the nation. Rispone went out with his head held high.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of," Rispone told his supporters. "We have over 700,000 people in Louisiana really wanted something better and something different."

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