John Bel Edwards

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.

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.

Rep. Ralph Abraham Campaign /

Republican Ralph Abraham has started pumping his own money into his campaign to be Louisiana governor, struggling to keep up with the spending pace of his competitors in his bid to unseat Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Latest finance reports in the race show the third-term congressman from rural northeast Louisiana has loaned his campaign $350,000 in the final stretch leading to the Oct. 12 election.

Governor Edwards Makes Statement On FBI Crime Data

Oct 2, 2019
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. 

Darrell Miller /

Republican Ralph Abraham has abandoned his claims to avoid intraparty fighting in Louisiana's governor's race and has begun taking more direct hits at GOP contender Eddie Rispone, as both men try to unseat the Deep South's only Democratic governor.

With early voting ongoing through Saturday, Abraham, a third-term congressman from northeast Louisiana, has released an ad calling Rispone desperate and saying Rispone is lying to voters about Abraham's record.

Antrell Williams /

In a policy-focused second TV debate, Gov. John Bel Edwards and his Republican challengers Thursday drew starkly different pictures of Louisiana's economic and fiscal health, taking some new digs at each other in their final clash ahead of early voting.

The Deep South's only Democratic governor described a Louisiana rebounding from an economic recession and a decade of budget crises, with fewer people uninsured and new state investments in education, though he avoided describing the taxes used to stabilize state finances.

Amy the Nurse /

Just days before the start of early voting, Gov. John Bel Edwards' Republican opponents struck at his hallmark achievements Monday in hopes of keeping the Democratic incumbent from outright victory in an election less than three weeks away.

The Deep South's only Democratic governor continued to defend his record and suggested that U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone were trying to divide Louisiana residents into the partisan lines of Washington as they seek to force him into a runoff from the Oct. 12 election.