Governor John Bel Edwards elected to second term
Voters elected Gov. John Bel Edwards to a second term as Louisiana’s governor in a General Election held Saturday, Nov. 16. Gov. Edwards was first elected in 2015, breaking through an eight-year lockout of Democratic governors across the Deep South.
While the fight to restore balance to the state’s finances defined the first half of Gov. Edwards’ tenure, the second half was defined by ongoing battles sprung in the wake of the Trump administration. Voters and politicians were suddenly reminded of Gov. Edwards’ conservative-leaning stance on polarizing issues, the most notable being signing a measure outlawing abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected without exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest. Signing the law caused a rift between Gov. Edwards and his party, with many notable Democrats condemning Gov. Edwards.
Beyond the conflict with his fellow Democrats, Gov. Edwards’ faced considerable opposition from Republican officials during his term, including Sen. John Kennedy and General Attorney Jeff Landry who cultivated an image as the ideal Republican official by opposing Gov. Edwards on issues ranging from healthcare, state finances, the death penalty, and most notably LGBTQ protections. Both were rumored to be potential competitors for Gov. Edwards in the election, but eventually announced they decided not to enter the race.
However, challenges eventually came from Republican Congressman Ralph Abraham and self-proclaimed “political outsider” Edward L. “Eddie” Rispone. Abraham would be knocked out of the race in the Primary Election held Saturday, Oct. 12, while Rispone would go on to become the new face of a Republican offensive hoping to unseat Gov. Edwards.
With a clear challenger for Gov. Edwards, President Trump and other prominent Republicans rallied behind Rispone. But, Gov. Edwards used President Trump’s backing of Rispone to his own advantage, increasing his support among minority voters.