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Gov. Edwards tops Trump-backed candidate to win reelection in Louisiana

Molly Parker, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Democrat John Bel Edwards won reelection as governor of Louisiana on Saturday, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump who campaigned in the state in recent weeks to support Republican challenger Eddie Rispone.

Edwards won with 51% of the votes, according to a results portal on the Louisiana secretary of state's website.

The Louisiana race provides a latest litmus test of Trump's popularity before the 2020 election in a heavily Republican state that he carried by 20 points in 2016. It is the first statewide election since the House began an impeachment inquiry of the president on Wednesday, which may have helped galvanize turnout from Democratic-leaning voters.

The win comes less than two weeks after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a staunchly pro-Trump Republican, lost to Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear. That was despite a last-minute push by Trump that included a rally the day before that election, where he warned the crowd that Bevin's defeat would send "a really bad message" and adding "you can't let that happen to me."

In Virginia, Democrats took both houses of the legislature from Republicans, gaining full control of state government for the first time in 26 years. In the aftermath of those setbacks, Trump pointed to other Republican wins in Kentucky and the Mississippi gubernatorial race where Tate Reeves defeated Democrat Jim Hood.

Trump held a rally alongside Rispone on Nov. 9 in Monroe, La., and then held another event in Bossier City on Thursday. In between those trips, Trump traveled to Alabama to attend the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University football game.

 

On Saturday, the president sent multiple tweets during the morning and afternoon that urged support for Rispone, saying "He will be a great governor!"

In Bossier City, Trump urged the audience to vote for Rispone to send a message to Democrats in Washington. He lobbed familiar attacks on the media and political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and railed against the impeachment inquiry.

"You can send a tremendous message back to Washington because Eddie's running against the failed far-left," referring to Edwards, who he said would join the impeachment push from Louisiana if he was reelected.

Rispone largely campaigned on his similarities to and support for the president, pointing out that he also built his wealth in construction.

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