WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump is traveling to Monroe, Louisiana, Wednesday night to bolster support for Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in a Nov. 16 runoff election.
The event marks Trump's second campaign rally this week following his Monday night appearance in Lexington, Kentucky, in support of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, who appears to have fallen short in Tuesday's gubernatorial race.
Trump told the Lexington crowd on Monday that losing the governor's race would send "a really bad message," but he quickly pointed out on Twitter Tuesday night that every other Republican candidate seeking statewide office in Kentucky won their race. Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear led Bevin by a few thousand votes with 100% of precincts reporting, but the incumbent governor refused to concede. Bevin's campaign on Wednesday formally requested an official recanvass of the election results.
#ElectionNight Won 5 out of 6 elections in Kentucky, including 5 great candidates that I spoke for and introduced last night. @MattBevin picked up at least 15 points in last days, but perhaps not enough (Fake News will blame Trump!). Winning in Mississippi Governor race!
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2019
Wednesday's rally is also Trump's second trip to Louisiana over the last month. He campaigned on the eve of the Oct. 12 primary election in Lake Charles, calling on supporter to vote for Rispone or GOP Rep. Ralph Abraham in an effort to prevent Edwards from getting at least 50% of the vote to force a runoff. Edwards got 46% of the vote while Rispone took 27%, setting the stage for the the Nov. 14 runoff.
Trump also has cut a campaign commercial for Rispone, calling him "a fantastic man, a great success" and boasting that "everything he's touched has turned to gold."
More than 40,000 people requested tickets for Wednesday night's rally at the Monroe Civic Center, but the arena can only hold about 10,000 people. Independent forecasters such as Cook Political Report have described the Louisiana race as a tossup.
Trump has stumped for several GOP candidates in recent weeks in an effort to push them over finish line in off-year elections as both Republicans and Democrats watch for warning signs ahead of next year's presidential election.
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The president also suggested his rally last week in Tupelo, Mississippi, for Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves "moved the numbers" in the state's governor race and handed Reeves a win over Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood. Republicans in the Magnolia State will hold all eight statewide offices for the first time since Reconstruction.
But Democrats emerged victorious Tuesday after flipping Virginia's state Senate and House of Delegates, giving them control of both the legislature and the governor's office for the first time in more than two decades.
An impeachment inquiry by House Democrats has been the focus of Trump's campaign rally speeches in recent weeks. He has stepped up his rhetorical attacks on Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and has repeatedly questioned the loyalty of a handful of wavering Republicans.
Contributing: Bonnie Bolden, Monroe News Star
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump holds rally in support of Louisiana GOP candidate Eddie Rispone