Another win for the Democratic Party, another defeat for Donald J. Trump.
Voters in Louisiana tonight have reelected incumbent Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, keeping the Pelican State’s top elected position in Democratic hands for another four years. With 99% of precincts in Louisiana reporting, Bel Edwards had 51% of the vote (773,118 votes as of 8:40 PM Pacific), while Republican challenger Eddie Rispone had 49% of the vote (733,160 votes).
Bel Edwards’ nearly forty thousand vote lead was propelled by three key parishes: Orleans (home of New Orleans), East Baton Rouge, and Caddo.
In Orleans Parish, Bel Edward has a jaw-dropping 90% of the vote (114,812 votes), while in East Baton Rouge, he has 66% (102,671 votes) and in Caddo he has 58% (44,687 votes). Bel Edwards also performed well in Jefferson Parish, with 57% of the vote (72,192 votes) and West Baton Rouge with 57% (6,501 votes).
“Louisiana, Kentucky, and Virginia have delivered a devastating warning to Donald Trump’s Republican Party — Governor Edwards’ victory is another sign of Democrats’ surging strength,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez in a statement celebrating the victory. “As voters reject the GOP agenda, Democrats are competing and winning in every corner of the country. Less than a year before the 2020 election, the wind is firmly at our backs.”
Perez’ statement noted that the Democratic National Committee invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Louisiana Democratic Party to support Bel Edwards and the Democratic ticket. Clearly, that investment has paid off.
“Rispone, a seventy-year-old businessman making his first run for public office, had President Donald Trump at his side at rallies – along with $2 million and sixty paid staffers sent at the last minute from the Republican National Committee and millions more from the Republican Governors Association – hoping to flip the office to the GOP,” noted The Advocate of Baton Rouge.
“Rarely have presidents been so involved in a state-level race,” The Advocate’s staff report observed, explaining: “Trump visited Louisiana three times to rally Republican and rural voters to head to the polls and ‘fire’ Edwards, calling him ‘a radical.’ Trump told Louisiana voters they could send a message to national Democrats that they stood behind him by voting for Rispone.”
Instead of heeding Trump, voters in Louisiana have chosen to reelect John Bel Edwards, emphatically rebuking Donald Trump just days after voters in Kentucky dumped Republican Governor Matt Bevin and voters in Virginia gave Democrats unified control over the statehouse in Richmond.
Bel Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South.
The governor’s reelection victory is all the more significant in that it came in a Saturday runoff election in the middle of November. Democrats are often at a disadvantage in lower turnout elections, but they were able to return Bel Edwards to the governor’s mansion in this runoff. Quite the accomplishment.
“Have to give credit to Edwards/Dems’ runoff turnout operation, particularly w/ African-American voters,” tweeted Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report. “Compared to the primary, turnout was up… 29% in New Orleans, 26% in Shreveport, 14% in Baton Rouge (w/ 6 precincts still out).
“And just 9% everywhere else.”