Governor John Bel Edwards

Antrell Williams /

Louisiana voters will settle the nation’s last 2019 gubernatorial contest Saturday, deciding whether to give the Deep South’s only Democratic governor a second term or replace him with a Republican businessman favored by President Donald Trump.

Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards faces a strong challenge from Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who is hoping Trump’s coattails help him secure a victory in the crimson state where the president remains popular.

Gage Skidmore /

President Donald Trump said the impeachment probe has been “very hard” on his family, even as he tried to flex his political muscle to flip the governor’s mansion in deep-red Louisiana.

Speaking in friendly territory in a state he carried in 2016 by 20 percentage points, Trump lashed out Thursday at Democratic investigators and what he called a “deranged impeachment witch hunt.” While arguing it was a political boon for his reelection, he acknowledged for the first time a personal toll from the impeachment process that stands to cloud his legacy.

Photo by Marie Constantin /

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards swiped at Republican opponent Eddie Rispone on Monday for missing another candidate forum ahead of the runoff election, accusing the businessman of dodging public events to limit scrutiny of an undefined agenda.

The Deep South's only Democratic governor, battling to reach a second term and targeted by the national GOP for ouster, started and ended his appearance before the Press Club of Baton Rouge by asking: "Where is Eddie?"

"What are the specific things that he wants to do?" Edwards asked.

State Symbols USA /

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and his Republican challenger Eddie Rispone will meet in an Oct. 30 debate.

The two contenders have agreed to an event planned by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for A Better Louisiana that will air statewide. The Baton Rouge debate may be the only head-to-head sparring the candidates do ahead of the Nov. 16 runoff.

Rispone, a businessman making his first run for public office, hasn't announced his willingness to participate in any other proposed forums so far.

Antrell Williams /

John Bel Edwards' bid for a second term as the Deep South's only Democratic governor will be decided in November, after Louisiana voters Saturday sent him to a runoff in a race that became heavy with national politics in the final days.

Edwards will face Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in the Nov. 16 runoff.

Photo by Marie Constantin /

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' quest for a second term as the Deep South's only Democratic governor will stretch over another month, as voters denied him an outright primary win Saturday and sent him to a runoff election.

The incumbent's inability to top 50% of the vote in the six-candidate field raised questions about his reelection chances against a national Republican offensive that includes President Donald Trump. Trump made a last-minute appeal to Louisiana's voters to reject Edwards.

Antrell Williams /

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards' two major Republican opponents took their most direct swipes at each other Wednesday even as they struck at the Democratic incumbent in their final TV debate before the primary election.

While Edwards remains in the lead, polls ahead of the Saturday election show a tightening contest between U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone for the second-place spot. The GOP challengers accused each other of lying and distortions, tangling as much among themselves as they did with the governor they're trying to unseat.

Gage Skidmore /

President Donald Trump is heading to Louisiana ahead of Saturday's election, for a last-minute rally aimed at peeling support from Gov. John Bel Edwards and keeping the Democratic incumbent from a primary win.

Trump tweeted Sunday about the get-out-the-vote event, saying he's working to elect "a great new Republican Governor!" He hasn't endorsed between GOP candidates Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone.

The president's event will be held Friday night in Lake Charles, in southwest Louisiana.

John Bel Edwards Administration /

A new Republican-financed attack ad targets Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to hire a chief deputy previously accused of sexual harassment and aims to dent the Democratic incumbent’s support from women.

The 30-second spot released Thursday by the Republican Governors Association’s PAC comes as national GOP leaders step up efforts to keep the Deep South’s only Democratic governor from outright victory in the Oct. 12 election. Vice President Mike Pence plans to travel to Louisiana on Saturday to rally support for defeating Edwards.

Marie Constantin /

A data release by the FBI shows that violent crime in Louisiana has decreased. Louisiana's murder rate decreased by 7.8 percent, which is faster than the national average.

Governor Edwards said, "Today's FBI crime data shows decreases in violent crime and murder in Louisiana. We also saw decreases in property crime, including robbery. While there is still too much crime, we are moving toward a safer, less violent future."

According to the data, Louisiana's murder rate decreased by 3.4 percentage points and that the state's murder rate is at 11.4 per 100,000 people.