NEW ORLEANS (CN) – Incumbent Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will vie for another term in a runoff election in November because he did not get the required 50% plus one vote in Saturday’s election.
Edwards faced off with five other candidates and ended with 47% of the vote. He will have another chance of securing the governor’s seat Nov. 16 when he goes against GOP millionaire businessman Eddie Rispone, whose political image very closely resembles that of President Donald Trump.
President Trump held a rally in Lake Charles Thursday evening to fire up conservatives to get out and vote against Edwards, who Trump said is ruining jobs and running oil and gas into the ground.
Edwards is the lone Democrat in the deeply red Deep South state.
After the results of the election were clear Saturday evening, Trump tweeted that he was to thank for Edwards not securing a majority vote.
“The Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, has done a poor job. NOW HE IS IN A RUNOFF WITH A GREAT REPUBLICAN,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you Louisiana! 66% down to 47% after I explained what a bad job the Governor was doing.”
Poll research prior to Trump’s Louisiana rally suggested Edwards might get 48% of the vote but didn’t indicate he would secure the 50% required to avoid a runoff vote.
Under Louisiana’s “jungle primary” system, all the candidates appear on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation and a runoff occurs if no candidate receives a majority vote.
Trump warned his Louisiana supporters at Thursday’s rally that “all of our nation’s gains are put at risk by a rage-filled Democrat Party that has gone completely insane.”
Trump did not endorse either of the two main Republican challengers to Edwards’ title. He called both “great” and brought main challengers, Rispone and Ralph Abraham, up during Thursday’s rally, though only for a few minutes, as he cautioned his ratings would plummet if the candidates came for too long between he and the people who came to see him.
Rispone, 70, a millionaire businessman from Baton Rouge, poured more than $11 million of his own money into his campaign.
Edwards, a conservative, anti-abortion, pro-gun former Army ranger West Point graduate, talks of working well with the Trump administration and says the U.S. House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is a distraction to governing in Washington.
Edwards signed a six-week abortion ban and, as with Abraham and Rispone, said he would offer to pray with a woman who was pregnant due to rape or incest. He also expanded Louisiana’s Medicaid program, adding nearing a half-million new people and lowering the state’s uninsured rate to below the national average.