Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ quest for a second term as the Deep South’s only Democratic governor will stretch over another month, as voters denied him an outright primary win Saturday and sent him to a runoff election.
The incumbent’s inability to top 50% of the vote in the six-candidate field raised questions about his reelection chances against a national Republican offensive that includes President Donald Trump. Trump made a last-minute appeal to Louisiana’s voters to reject Edwards.
Edwards will compete in the Nov. 16 runoff against Eddie Rispone, a Baton Rouge businessman and longtime GOP political donor making his first bid for public office.
On Saturday, Rispone said he received a congratulatory call from Trump just before going on stage at 10:30 p.m. to greet supporters at L’Auberge Hotel and Casino in Baton Rouge.
The president offered another boost early Sunday morning on Twitter.
“The Media is not talking about the big Republican victory last night in Louisiana where a sitting Democrat Governor was forced into a runoff by not getting 50%,” Trump wrote.
“Big upset! Now @EddieRispone, who will be a great Governor, will win!”