Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, was forced into a runoff in a bid for re-election, where he will face Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.

Edwards fell short of the majority needed to clinch re-election in Saturday’s all-party primary. He received 47 percent of the votes cast, unable to pass the 50 percent threshold and raised questions about his re-election chances.

Earlier, President Donald Trump rallied on Friday in the state to support the Republican candidates on the eve of the election, calling Edwards “a liberal Democrat who has sold you out.”

During the rally, Trump asked both Republican candidates, Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone, to join him on stage to offer brief remarks. Rispone will face Edwards after narrowly edging out Abraham.

The president tweeted that Edwards “has done a poor job. NOW HE IS IN A RUNOFF WITH A GREAT REPUBLICAN, @EddieRispone. Thank you Louisiana!” He said Edwards’s support fell “after I explained what a bad job the governor was doing.”

History shows that Edwards will face a more difficult path to re-election than he did against a divided field. No sitting Louisiana governor has ever won re-election after being forced into a runoff.

Louisiana is the first of three states to vote for a governor in a general election in 2019. Democrats had hoped for a quick victory, but the party has two other chances to notch wins in deep red states.

Next month, voters in Kentucky will decide whether Gov. Matt Bevin (R) deserves a second term, or whether Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) will take over. Bevin, who is deeply unpopular, has given Democrats an opening to win an increasingly conservative state.

President Trump sent his congratulations to Louisiana voters on new governor.

Congratulations to the Great State of Louisiana. A big night. You will soon have a new and wonderful Governor, @EddieRispone. Your Taxes and Car Insurance Payments will go DOWN!” Trump tweeted.

If the candidate who wins the popular vote does not win a majority of legislative districts, the state House—currently controlled by a Republican super majority — picks the next governor.

Includes reporting from the Associated Press

Tags: Categories: Politics