twJBE.jpg

Gov. John Bel Edwards makes opening day remarks at the start of the special session Monday.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' successful run for governor came to many as a surprise in 2015, and a liberal-leaning Texas political magazine says his win is worth considering as the national Democratic Party mulls the direction in which it's heading.

Noting that the Democrats have seen few significant victories in recent years, an article in the April 2017 issue of the Texas Observer claims that: "The most consequential was an off-year election in a red state, little noticed then and little mentioned now: the 2015 election of John Bel Edwards as Louisiana governor."

The article specifically notes Edwards' decision to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act as his first act upon taking office, making Louisiana the second southern state to embrace Medicaid expansion. Since the expansion took effect in July, more than 423,000, mostly the working poor, have enrolled in the health care program.

Here's how the Observer describes Louisiana's governor: "Edwards is by no means a lefty, but neither does he fit with the Ivy League, corporate-friendly Dems who dominate the party’s center. He’s not Bernie Sanders, but neither is he Cory Booker. He’s something else — someone whose biography and public profile is suited to the politics of Louisiana."

The premise of the article is that Democrats in Texas, and perhaps nationally, could learn a thing or two from the election of Edwards in ruby red Louisiana.

Edwards was thought a long shot when he entered the race as a little-known Democratic state representative from Amite (Even the state's Democratic standardbearers had their doubts about his chances).

Then-U.S. Sen. David Vitter was viewed as a clear frontrunner in the race but two other Republicans, Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle, also set eyes on the Governors Mansion. Under the state's "jungle primary" system, Edwards and Vitter, the top two vote-getters in round one, faced off in a runoff race.

Read the full column from the Texas Observer here.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.