Democrat wins Louisiana governor's seat despite Trump's efforts
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards talks to media at his campaign office in Shreveport, La., Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has stunned Republicans again, narrowly winning a second term Saturday as the Deep South's only Democratic governor and handing Donald Trump another gubernatorial loss this year.
In the heart of Trump country, the moderate Edwards cobbled together enough cross-party support with his focus on bipartisan, state-specific issues to defeat Republican businessman Eddie Rispone.
Coming after a defeat in the Kentucky governor's race and sizable losses in Virginia's legislative races, the Louisiana result seems certain to rattle Republicans as they head into the 2020 presidential election. Trump fought to return the seat to the GOP, making three trips to Louisiana to rally against Edwards.
The president's intense attention motivated not only conservative Republicans, but also powered a surge in anti-Trump and black voter turnout that helped Edwards.
Democrats who argue that nominating a moderate presidential candidate is the best approach to beat Trump are certain to point to Louisiana's race as bolstering their case. Edwards, a West Point graduate, opposes gun restrictions, signed one of the nation's strictest abortion bans and dismissed the impeachment effort as a distraction.