Louisiana's John Bel Edwards wins reelection to remain Deep South's only Democratic governor




  • In Business
  • 2019-11-17 04:43:44Z
  • By USA TODAY
Louisiana\
Louisiana\'s John Bel Edwards wins reelection to remain Deep South\'s only Democratic governor  

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards won a second term Saturday to remain the only Democratic governor in the Deep South despite an all-out effort by President Donald Trump to flip the seat to the Republican column.

Edwards narrowly beat wealthy Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who invested more than $14 million of his own money to finance his campaign and tied himself to Trump from start to finish.

While many Republicans bemoaned the lack of star power in their candidates - powerhouse Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and popular GOP state Attorney General Jeff Landry passed on the race - Edwards had to fend off Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during the months-long campaign.

Trump headlined three Louisiana rallies to oust Edwards, first in Lake Charles on the eve of the Oct. 12 primary election and then in Monroe and Bossier City during the runoff campaign.

Trump in Louisiana: Trump rallies for Louisiana governor race, mocks diplomats in impeachment hearings

The president told Louisiana voters the race was a symbolic referendum on his presidency, which he said is under attack by Democrats who've started impeachment hearings in the House.

"I need you to send a message to the corrupt Democrats in Washington," Trump said Thursday during a rally in Bossier City.

And that could be done, Trump said, by electing Rispone.

"You've got to give me a big win, OK?" Trump told the crowd.

The president continued the onslaught on Twitter during Election Day Saturday: "Good morning Louisiana! … Get out and VOTE for @EddieRisone to be your next Gov!"

But in the end Trump's coattails weren't long enough to carry Rispone across the finish line.

Edwards predicted as much during his own rally in Shreveport Thursday, expressing confidence voters wouldn't allow the president to nationalize the election.

"The voters of Louisiana are going to decide this election on Louisiana issues," Edwards said. "They don't need the president or anybody else to tell them how to vote."

Edwards' victory won't bring with it a mandate for him to push through priorities like equal pay legislation and a Louisiana minimum wage higher than the national mandate of $7.25 per hour.

As a Democrat he's still an anomaly both in the South and in Louisiana, where Edwards is the only Democrat to hold statewide office.

And he'll face possible Republican super majorities in both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature during his second term.

Still, Edwards expressed optimism he and lawmakers can find common ground.

"Practically every major thing I 've done as governor was done on a bipartisan basis," he said.

Follow Greg Hilburn on Twitter @GregHilburn1.

This article originally appeared on Monroe News Star: Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards overcomes Trump push to win in La.

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