Democratic governor candidate John Bel Edwards has received the endorsement of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association, the group’s president Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone announced Monday.

“I’m so proud to stand with law enforcement who work hard to keep our people safe,” tweeted Edwards in response to the news.

The sheriffs’ endorsement is highly coveted.

The association stayed out of the governor’s race in the primary election with no candidate able to gain the required majority of its 64 members. Edwards, a state representative from Amite, and the three top Republican candidates – U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle – all made pitches for it.

Vitter sought an early endorsement prior to candidate qualifying.

Now down to a Nov. 21 runoff between Edwards and Vitter, the sheriffs met Monday and voted to throw their support to Edwards, who comes from a well-known law enforcement family. His brother Daniel Edwards is sheriff of Tangipahoa. Edwards’ father, Frank M. Edwards Jr., was sheriff before that.

“We are very proud of John Bel Edwards. We are certainly proud of the legacy of the family,” said Sheriffs’ Association executive director Mike Ranatza. Ranatza said Edwards has a 100 percent voting record with law enforcement and worked with the sheriffs on legislation.

“He’s a solid individual who certainly has integrity that merits our support,” Ranatza said.

The association did not release the voting results but Ranatza said 50 sheriffs voted. Edwards had to receive at least 33 of the 50 votes cast to gain the endorsement – a majority of the 64 sheriffs.