John Bel Edwards Wins Reelection in Louisiana
Louisiana reelected Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards Saturday, dealing a stunning blow to Republicans who had banked on President Donald Trump’s popularity in the conservative state to return the governor’s mansion to the GOP.
Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the deep south and was seen as genuinely vulnerable after his failure to win reelection outright in the state’s jungle primary last month.
Trump himself made three trips to Louisiana to rally against Edwards, but the governor’s focus on bipartisanship and state-specific issues enabled him to prevail over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, garnering 51 percent of the vote.
Working with the majority-Republican Legislature, Edwards stabilized state finances with a package of tax increases, digging the state out of a deep deficit. As the state’s fiscal health improved, Edwards invested in public colleges and the first statewide teacher raise in a decade.
He also expanded Louisiana’s Medicaid program, lowering the state’s uninsured rate below the national average. A bipartisan criminal sentencing law rewrite he championed ended Louisiana’s tenure as the nation’s top jailer.
Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor’s race and sizable losses in Virginia’s legislative races, the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans heading into the 2020 presidential election.
Exit polls showed that in addition to his focus on local issues, Edwards benefits from a surge in anti-Trump sentiment and a high black voter turnout.
“How sweet is it,” declared Edwards at his victory rally late Saturday night.
“And as for the president, God bless his heart,” he said. “Tonight the people of Louisiana have chosen to chart their own path,” Edwards said.
Meanwhile, across town in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Rispone asked his disappointed supporters to give a round of applause to Trump.
“That man loves America and he loves Louisiana,” said Rispone, who had closely aligned himself with the president and the president’s policies during his campaign.
In the end, however, it may have been Rispone’s shortcomings as a candidate and Edward’s personal conservatism that were the Republican candidate’s undoing.
Rispone had little name recognition when he entered the race for governor, and even after he came in second in the primary, he offered few details about what he’d do if elected.
Edwards, meanwhile, didn’t fit the mold of a candidate Republicans could bash as a liberal or a dreaded socialist.
A West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, Edwards has long said he opposes most restrictions on gun ownership and signed one of the nation’s strictest abortion bans.
He’s also not thrown his lot in with supporters of the impeachment of Trump, calling the effort a distraction from the looming 2020 elections.
In The News
Proxy voting has been extended through mid-August in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Monday. House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, notified Pelosi that the public health emergency due to the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing. “I... Read More
WASHINGTON – A group of influential Democratic Senators are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deny a confirmation vote of President Donald Trump’s nominee for a vacant United States appeals court seat. The legislators appealed to McConnell in a letter after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved... Read More
The U.S. has spent more than half of $3 trillion in economic rescue funds passed by Congress — with little of the oversight intended to ensure the money goes to the right places. Three new oversight bodies are barely functional: A special inspector general was only... Read More
Urged on by President Donald Trump, Republican officials in several swing states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, are ramping up pressure on Democratic governors to move faster on reopening their economies, despite experts’ warnings of a surge in infections and deaths. The mounting pressure comes as... Read More
MIAMI — Last month, police departments in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Connecticut unveiled what was initially touted as a potential new tool against a pandemic: drones capable of taking a person’s temperature from 300 feet in the air. Both agencies quickly backtracked on using the machines... Read More
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is quietly organizing a Manhattan Project-style effort to drastically cut the time needed to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with a goal to have 100 million doses ready by year’s end, according to two people familiar with the matter. Called “Operation Warp... Read More