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Gambit has endorsed incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards. 

Louisiana is at a crossroads. Voters on Saturday, Nov. 16 will decide which direction our state should take — and who should lead us there. Gov. John Bel Edwards has served honorably and effectively. He gave Louisiana honest budgets with increased funding for all levels of education, from pre-K through college, and he gave teachers their first pay raises in nearly a decade. Edwards also expanded Medicaid, which reduced budget deficits and literally saved lives.

So the question for all voters — Democrat, Republican and independent alike — comes down to this: Do we maintain course with a governor who reaches across the aisle to restore funding to education and health services and who has amassed a $500 million surplus? Or, do we return to the regressive policies of the Bobby Jindal era with scorched-earth budget cuts and partisan battles that get us nowhere? It’s really as simple as that.

The electorate is almost equally split. Edwards led the Oct. 12 primary with almost 47% of the vote. Republican Eddie Rispone, a longtime GOP mega-donor who has run as a pro-Trump “outsider,” finished second with more than 27%; fellow Republican Ralph Abraham got more than 23%. Recent polls suggest a very close race on Saturday. President Trump has made three trips to Louisiana during the runoff, underscoring the importance of this race to him after Kentucky voters last week rebuffed his call to re-elect that state’s GOP governor.

Trump’s popularity in Louisiana notwithstanding, this race is about Louisiana, not Washington. Edwards offers voters a solid record of bipartisan accomplishment. Rispone’s campaign has been utterly devoid of specifics; even his vocal supporters can’t (or won’t) say what he’ll do as governor.

Commentary: It's time to establish a Louisiana debate commission

Here is a ballot with our recommendations that you can take with you on Saturday. Even if you disagree with our endorsements, we hope you’ll get out and vote. Your vote is your voice, and it’s heard loudest at the polls.

This is a commentary from Gambit, produced independently from reporters at the paper.