Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards will win a second term as Louisiana governor, defeating his Republican opponent Eddie Rispone.
Going into Saturday’s runoff election, surveys conducted by pollsters showed the two virtually tied, with few undecideds and neither candidate making significant inroads into the other’s base.
Analysts had predicted the race would come down to who got their supporters to the polls.
Urban ministers, organized labor and African-American politicians worked for the 53-year-old Edwards, who is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South.
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Rispone, a 70-year-old businessman making his first run for public office, had President Donald Trump at his side at rallies – along with $2 million and 60 paid staffers sent at the last minute from the Republican National Committee and millions more from the Republican Governors Association – hoping to flip the office to the GOP.
Rarely have presidents been so involved in a state-level race. Trump visited Louisiana three times to rally Republican and rural voters to head to the polls and “fire” Edwards, calling him “a radical.” Trump told Louisiana voters they could send a message to national Democrats that they stood behind him by voting for Rispone.
National groups, such as the Republican Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association, both based in Washington, D.C., poured about $9 million each into the race. That includes roughly $3 million apiece in the runoff.